UAE: This Canadian performer's jazz nights take live-performing to an electric level
A peek into the UAE’s cultural landscape
Pardon my melodrama but walking into Q’s Bar and Lounge, Palazzo Versace Dubai, on a Friday evening was like finding a door to The Chronicles of Narnia. Outside in the hotel lobby, everything was quiet and subtle, inside the doors of this lounge in the West Wing was an electrifying, larger than life ambience. The setting is intimate, with a seat cover of 40 approximately, and the first thing that catches your eye is the smallish stage, followed by the plush, leather furnishings in black and brown. Of course, if you are there on a Friday, it’s the deep, expressive and distinctive voice of Canadian performer Carrie Gibson that overpowers it all and transports you to the world of jazz. Not to mention the who’s who of the town in attendance.
A rare and raw musical talent, Carrie has a penchant for conveying her emotions on stage, pouring her soul into every performance of musical storytelling. Carrie’s been well, singing, since she was three! She is known for her velvety vocals, charismatic stage presence and unmatched improv skills, including incorporating her own freestyle MC. Whilst we were there, she set the tone with Quincy Jones’s ‘Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?’ and left us mesmerised. As we sat back, we observed that just true-blue jazz lovers were in the audience, for the requests made to the band, including C Jam Blues, a jazz standard composed in 1942 by Duke Ellington and performed by countless other musicians. Carrie did her rendition of Que Sera Sera, which was beautiful, and shared how it was one of the most requested songs! “I never knew this song until I came here, and now I am singing it every day!” she said. During her formative years, she was exposed to a diverse mix of Calypso, Jazz, Latin/Soca and Gospel through her Aunt Thelma Gibson’s Dance Troupe, firmly laying the foundations that would shape her into the soulful songstress she is today.
She kept her performance casual, even made jokes on how she could see everyone mouth the words of the numbers and the shoulder movements of the guests suggested they were having a good time — Carrie is the “ultimate performing chameleon” as is said. The band members included Joe Bashorun, from the UK on piano, Lance Woodman, South Africa on drums, and Tona (Tonatiut) Zardon from Cuba on the trumpet, who complimented Carrie the vocalist and bandleader’s performance but also enhanced it with every note. Just watching the band members’ fingers move at lightning, beautiful speed on the instruments when they performed solo in itself guaranteed a return trip. Together, with Carrie, their performance of ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ was just an outstanding feat.
The DJ takes over when Carrie and the band takes a break, in the early hours of the evening (7- 9 pm). And whilst we were there, he kept it old school and the music enthusiasts sang along numbers like Village People’s ‘Y.M.C.A’. The food menu is limited (with barely anything for vegetarians), but then who are we kidding, you are not there for food for the tummy, but for the soul (read: music).
On every Friday from 7 pm to 1 am (Carrie and the band: 9-10 pm, 10:30-11:30 pm, 12 to 1 am) until the end of December.