Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Durand Jones @ les Étoiles, Paris - August 30th, 2023

A wonderful show by soul singer Durand Jones, in support of his first solo record Wait Til I Get Over. A few. The world has changed since we last saw him four years ago at the Trabendo with his regular band The Indications: The COVID-19 pandemic has reshuffled the cards for everything and everyone. American politics have grown even more polarized, and the social climate is looking bleaker by the day. The economical divide is even more gaping, and the racial issue is even more prevalent in the news. While the album does allude to the current situation, it does so by looking inwards: it is a deeply personal reflection on origins, legacy and identity, putting the listener in the mind of Jones, a young, bisexual black man living in Louisiana.

That feeling of intimacy that permeates the album also imbues the stage performance: it takes less than a couple of bars for the singer to establish a real connection with his audience. Vocally, he is very reminiscent of Donny Hathaway, but the most spectacular thing about Durand Jones' performance is the commitment to the music: every lyric, every vocal inflection is heartfelt and delivered with utmost devotion to the spirit of the song.

Jones and his band are equally at ease on gospel-tinged torch songs like Lord Have Mercy or funk numbers like See It Through. Covers of songs by Queen, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway round out a fantastic set, which had only one notable flaw: its 80-minute running time.

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