There is a certain sepia tinted quality to the 1970s latin-jazz style of Joanna Eden who was appearing upstairs at Ronnie's last night with guitarist Guillermo Hill. That's evident on Eden's latest album Love Quiet. Hill, who is also on the album, was perched on an elevated box seated to the English woman's side and the Uruguayan was a quiet presence who knew how to select his moment harmonically.
Eden presses and cajoles chords in accompaniment to her flexible surprisingly high often quite soulful lilting voice choosing songs that she wrote for instance on a trip to Uruguay or while in Italy in Bologna, writing there as a ''cure'' for her melancholy.
Songs of summer and covers including a well aimed treatment of The Isley Brothers classic 'Summer Breeze' and Wayne Shorter's 'Footprints' were included in a very persuasive performance. The little finger of Eden's left hand often acted as a lever to allow her hand to dive into a chord often favouring samba-like rhythmical accents as well as more 1970s singer-songwriter type settings.
When the Shorter treatment goes into more open territory and Eden's accompaniment becomes more jazz centric it shows how she is also happy to venture away from the road less travelled to charter new paths instrumentally and this was when Hill responded best. But there wasn't much break-out improvisation in the set, flashes here and there only - that's not the point so much in her style and certainly storytelling in her own fine lyrics drive Eden's artistry more than any probing instrumental explorations. Eden read notation from sheet music on a tablet breaking between songs to explain a song or two to the very full upstairs seated audience. First set highlights included as unlikely as it sounds a fairly jolly take on Fran Landesman and Tommy Wolf's 'Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most' first recorded by Jackie and Roy in the 1950s that certainly exhibited a glimpse of the width of interpretations possible in the classic song. Eden's originals have a thoughtful blissed out quality to them especially 'Love Quiet' the title track of her fine new album. SG