Jazz Concert Recommendation: SAMARA JOY (Samueli Hall at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa)

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by Tony Frankel on September 29, 2022

in Music,Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


The jazz world has been abuzz about the 22-year-old New Yorker Samara Joy since she won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2019, and rightfully so. Having just released her eponymous debut album, the word is spreading. But when I tell you that this young singer has the level of talent that only surfaces once in a blue moon, you’d best believe it. She has already trotted around Europe, selling out show after show, but I caught her live last week at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where a gathering crowd became a throng. So when I say you MUST see her this Saturday night at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, you will go, and you will thank me (get tickets here). She has two shows at 7 & 9 at Samueli Hall (I’m going to both myself), where she will be supported by an awesome trio. Then soon she is back to Europe, so your chances to see her live will be rare. In fact, this is her ONLY SoCal gig!

She performs classic songs that have stood the test of time and by her choice of repertoire she invites comparison with the great singers who have influenced her, particularly Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday. But her respectful interpretation balances tradition with the freshness of youth (her sweet personality will have you giddy) and more contemporary influences, with the result that her voice has a timeless quality that’s pure jazz. Hers is an awesomely smooth and rich voice that really knows how to handle the vintage tunes. Samara Joy is spreading beauty, harmony and happiness and we really need her now.


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