fri 23/02/2024

Chaka Khan, Ronnie Scott's | reviews, news & interviews

Chaka Khan, Ronnie Scott's

Chaka Khan, Ronnie Scott's

Soul diva with the magnificent voice embarks on short residency with Incognito

High-megawatt superstar lets it rip: Chaka Khan

Did you know that Chaka Khan has her own brand of gourmet chocolate she calls Chakalate? Or that she recently extended a helping hand to the media's favourite punchball, Lindsay Lohan, after they spent some time in the same rehab centre (Chaka for prescribed meds following a foot operation)?

What you need to know is that she is back in London, a high-megawatt superstar letting it rip in the intimate confines of the city's most famous jazz club, taking the stage at 7.45pm for the first of two shows each night for three nights, behind her the crack British jazz-funk band Incognito, and in front of her a classic soul and R&B repertoire  to pick from as she chooses.

And she chooses well. It's been a while since she released an album of new music, but the sold-out audience at Ronnie's was more than happy to hear classic singles and rare cuts from her years with Rufus and as a solo star, inflating with sassy, joyous energy songs big enough to make the walls of Soho crumble like Jericho under the spell of that huge, magnificent voice.

Can you actually, really masticate to Chaka Khan?

She opens in the quiet register, with "Destiny", a Rufus cut from 1978, before rising through the registers and the decibels with big-hitters "Sweet Thing", "Ain't Nobody" and "I Feel For You" before taking a stage break. Incognito work out some tight George Duke and Stevie Wonder rhythms, and then she's back with a pretty piano ballad, "Love Me Still", and one of her first hits with Rufus, "Tell Me Something Good", a classic Stevie Wonder song written specifically for her voice.

She looks and sounds larger than life and marvellous - hair, costume, mouth, attitude. Earrings. She may have to read the names of her four backing singers from a list on the floor ('my short-term memory - and my long term memory - it's shot'), but she can envelop a big song whole and play around with it like a cat with its prey. Some instincts you don't lose.

'I'll do that woman thing they're shouting out," she adlibs at the end - the patter thoughout is funny and dry - and "I'm Every Woman" does pull Ronnie Scott's winers and diners (can you actually, really masticate to Chaka Khan?) out of their seats. Those seats are not cheap, either, but then again, this is not the O2. She came, she delivered, she conquered. Come the end of Wednesday night, she'll be ready for that bar of Chakalate.

She looks and sounds larger than life and marvellous - hair, costume, mouth, attitude. Earrings


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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My husband and I saw Chaka on the Tuesday. It was a fabulous gig. Incognito were mindblowingly good as was Chaka, professional as always. She sang My Funny Valentine because my husband requested it and she sung it totally unrehearsed and unaccompanied, which brought the house down. This is the first time I have seen Chaka and Incognito live and it will be a gig never to be forgotten. It was well worth the trip up from Cornwall. Thank you Chaka and Incognito for making our evening special xx

My wife and I were also there on that Tuesday night aswell and we are still on the high from it. Outstanding in every way and well worth our four hundred mile round trip.

My wife and I went to see her on Tuesday 13th May. She did two sessions and we saw the first that evening. She was incredible. What made it even more amazing for me was when she asked for any requests. I shouted out "My funny valentine" and she sang it un-accompanied! Her UK backing band were the brilliant Incognito. A remarkable night that I will never forget in such a convivial atmosphere too. The tickets were £275 each which was very expensive BUT, in my opinion, worth every penny. Thank you Ronnie Scotts!

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