6th June 2012
The Pheasantry King’s Road Chelsea
In three decades’ living near The Pheasantry I was both a venue and artist novice but the pizza and music format is appealing as is the location and what I knew about the artist was good. Clara Ponty, based in Paris and having lived in California, is far bigger across both continents than here. The stage suggested a rockier format than her earlier music which is steeped in Clara’s classical roots.
Cleverly the back of the room was kept empty and we were all crowded round the stage in amongst the musicians. True to the billing both opening numbers were taken from her 2011 album released in the UK this May. “Take me Along” introduced a new-age feel but strong classical origins comes through pop-orientated jazz. Cabaret seating added to the ambience of the chic music. “Take Me Along” is a strong set-opener. Taking us through “Ses Raceines sur la Route” the strong rhythm section came to the fore - the father and son paring of Gilles Coquard on bass and Edouard Coquard. Gilles was a feature of the evening, brandishing a dramatic six string bass.
All four highly capable musicians and indeed showmen come to the fore with Edouard Coquard on drums rivalling the flamboyant Gilles. “Echo” was strong with all four instruments merging into multi-lead crescendo - underscored by the brilliance of Clara’s piano and the subtlety of Olivier Louvel’s lead guitar.
“The Path” sees Clara step upstage and takes lead vocals away from presumably the comfort of her piano. After a brief interval we were taken through a variety of pieces from the back catalogue including “Romance” and indeed “Glimpses of Paradise” from the excellent “Mirror of Truth”. “Mind Spin” was very strong, and the set closed as strong as ever. The encore “Coeur a Coeur” didn’t disappoint.
To cap a great evening Clara seemed happy to chat. Her intelligent and erudite music had captivated the audience for an evening - the consistent and accurate referencing and phrasing evoked fashionably seventies origins. This is elegant modern music of the highest order.
For more information about the artist and her music please visit: www.claraponty.com
The mini-tour is to promote Carla’s “Into the Light” the album and is released on Le Chant Du Monde, distributed in the UK before Harmonia Mundi.