Mandy Gaines

A Joyful Sound


All too often, when attending jazz concerts, the music on offer resembles an audio chapter of some particularly obtuse Nietzschean analysis. Not that I have anything against Nietzsche. I am as interested in Zarathustra as the next man. However, what I do appreciate is leaving a jazz club on a high.


Mandy Gaines, a singer from the USA, was  appearing for two nights at The Music Village in Brussels. I have had the pleasure of her acquaintance for a considerable number of years, but I can assure you that I am not indulging in sycophancy, when I say that watching her show is an object lesson on how to present vocal jazz - without any compromises - that delights an audience and keeps them on their seats.


Mandy is the ultimate professional. A great performer, she has an inherent sense of responsibility towards the expectations of an audience. She also - quite rightly - expects reciprocation. Jazz at its best is always a two-way contract.

What I particularly love about Mandy is the humour, warmth, and the utter joie de vivre. A great repertoire. Balanced and thoughtful. On stage and off-stage a warm non-patronizing response to the many smiling and ebullient admirers who want to express their appreciation.

There are a great many musicians, bands, and singers, who could learn a great deal from Mandy's approach to performance. Jazz can range from the frivolous to the very serious indeed, but in the final analysis, without meaningful communication with listeners, it becomes so much navel gazing.


From her new album: It's Just a Matter of Time.



Track 3: Don't Misunderstand: