Sinners at home in an empty house

Sinners at home in an empty house

A Brisbane favourite fronted up to the Jazz Club last night to launch a long-awaited CD.

Karen Anderson and the Fortunate Sinners have lain reasonably low for a little while but that did not stop fans stepping out in style for the launch of Live and Kickin’ at the Jazz Club. The audience were indeed alive and kicking and enjoying themselves intensely.

The Sinners cover the best songs of the best artists better than competently. Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Stay Together, Prince’s Purple Rain, Renee Geyer’s Heading in the Right Direction all hit the mark.

Some songs work brilliantly, Paul Kelly’s Foggy Highway is haunting, dramatic and rockin all at once. Joined on backing vocals by artist Brian Cavanagh, the Sinners’ rendition of Roxanne transcends the original with Brian and Karen’s duet soaring from scat to humour to beautiful  – sometimes at the same time.

Not everything works, Amy Winehouse is a stretch too far for this little black duck and a local blues promoter and regular visitor to New Orleans grumbled throughout a number of songs about “easy listening”.

Karen Anderson with Bill McKenzie in the background

Karen Anderson with the top of Ewan McKenzie’s head

The highlight of the evening was Karen’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluiah. A song that gets covered so often by so many great artists is a little hard to beat, but this woman knocked out a completely original version that had the audience totally transfixed and yelling enthusiastically for minutes after she put the mike back in the stand. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up remembering it.

Easy listening indeed.

The band features some outstanding talent. Dale Rabic on organ gave a stand out performance on electronic organ belting it like an old time Hammond organ in a southern Baptist Church at some times and ranging from Honky Tonk piano to full synthesiser at others.

Steve Francis stroked and coaxed the drums across the wide variety of musical styles building and syncopating rhythms with Dr Bob on bass.

Old school mate of Karen’s Ewan McKenzie took the lead guitar on Halleluiah and there is obviously a special bond between the two.  John Hogan on lead guitar and Darren McPherson on saxophone also took lead solos from time to time and got warm response from the audience.

The Jazz Club obviously enjoys being featured as the venue for a live CD as well as a CD launch and the Brisbane Jazz scene as a whole is very fond of both Ms Anderson and the Sinners as an outfit.

If you are not familiar with the work of this popular local group, ask Dr Google – she knows – or get yourself a copy of the CD itself.