Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 8:30 PM EDT
(7:30 PM Doors)
Iridium, New York, NY
POLLY GIBBONS with Shedrick Mitchell on Keys and Piano (now playing with MAXWELL); Richie Goods on Bass (Chris Botti), Mark McLean on Drums (BOCCELLI ) and Paul Bollenback on Guitar
Is It Me…?
Fully embracing the inspiring, expansive array of American jazz, soul and blues influences that have infused her dynamic career as an artist and live performer, Polly Gibbons fashions a frolicsome, freewheeling musical history lesson on Is It Me…?, her second release on the indie jazz label Resonance Records.
Capturing the joyful essence of the 12-track collection, the multi-talented British singer and songwriter – a staple of the UK Jazz Scene since the mid-2000s, when she earned a BBC Jazz Award nomination - says, “It’s a massive melting pot, varied but beautifully linked because I love every style I’m singing. Jazz would never have happened without the blues, which came out of the gospel tradition – and blues is the foundation of contemporary Western culture and pop/soul music, and so on.”
Polly has cultivated her craft and eclecticism over the past decade, performing at all the leading UK jazz clubs, international festivals and as a regular at the legendary venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, where she has sung with the All-Stars, led by pianist and house musical director James Pearson. “There’s always this element of surprise from people who haven’t seen her perform,” says Pearson, Polly’s longtime songwriting collaborator and arranger. “She astounds me, too. She’s unpredictable.” In 2016, she opened the sold out UK tours for George Benson and Gladys Knight and had two acclaimed performances at the Royal Albert Hall. She was also a featured singer with the Liverpool Philharmonic in a presentation of the music and life story of John Lennon.
Polly is quickly establishing herself in the States as well, with shows these past few years in Florida, Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Birdland in NYC. She released her critically acclaimed UK debut album My Own Company in 2014.
Polly took obligatory piano lessons at age four, but didn’t realize she could sing till she was around 13. Crippled by an initial shyness, at her first public performance at a school Christmas concert, she sang with her back to the audience. Though she sang hymns regularly at the Baptist church her family attended, her musical sensibilities were galvanized when her sister played Billie Holiday’s “I’m A Fool To Want You” -- which Polly found “extraordinary!”
Polly’s road now leads her to one of those extraordinary places with the release of Is It Me…? The album is a journey all its own – a culmination of so many moments that also signifies a meaningful new beginning for both the singer and contemporary jazz.