Concert review: Some Kinda Spirit

Nancy Karin Vardi's "Some Kinda Spirit" Felicja Blumental Music Center, Tel Aviv, March 27.

Piano (photo credit: Wikicommons)
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
For the past four years, Nancy Karin Vardi has appeared in her jazz and ragtime show, "Some Kinda Spirit", at venues across the country.
Music is Vardi’s life, she tells The Jerusalem Post, her background within the field both vast and constantly growing.
She studied musicology at the music academy at Tel Aviv University as well as with a variety of teachers, young and old, from all stretches of Europe, the US and of course, Israel.
Vardi is keen to continually expand her knowledge, and has attended multiple cabaret and theater classes at Yale University – advancing her study to the present day.
Some Kinda Spirit follows the story of the birth of jazz in America, beginning with its grassroots in plantation songs and gospel, moving through ragtime and leading up to early jazz.
The production also includes a hint of reggae music, which represents the first stop of the tragic slave trade that originated in the Bahamas.
Vardi has been to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood to investigate the origins of gospel music. She has traveled to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands to absorb their musical traditions.
The show’s song selection was carefully researched and selected from the New York Music Library, and each piece demonstrates a different aspect of jazz and is iconic for the period being covered.
By the time the curtain closes, Vardi manages to expand her audience’s appreciation for the form and its various subtleties. It is an education in the foundations of the genre.
The passionate performances by everyone involved lend a synergy and dimension to the music that speaks directly to the soul; each player adds their own unique flair.
Anavya Ben-Shaliah is the other lead vocalist alongside Vardi, and delivers a powerful and authentic performance, skillfully melding singing and storytelling.
On the piano, Oren Sela does a precise job of setting the mood and navigating the keys with elegance. The percussionist, Asaf Dagan, includes cajón among his instruments, which meshes well and is creatively used.
Of all the songs Vardi sings, each one better than the last, her rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Gypsy Without A Song” stands out as one of the most powerful and moving of the night.
The excellent performances, coupled with the way Some Kinda Spirit tells its story through words and music, make it an unforgettable experience.
Another performance is planned for June at The Zone, 13 Harechev St., Tel Aviv.