Melanie Charles

Sunday, October 16, 2022, Old Fire Station

Melanie Charles

A long, long time ago, the jazz critic with the exalted-sounding name George O. von Frank once listed some characteristics by which one would recognise a jazz vocalist. At the top of the list is respect for melody and text. This is followed by a feeling for rhythm, intonation and phrasing. Good taste in the selection of pieces is also necessary. Of course the voice, which is used like an instrument and should be capable of all kinds of improvisation. A personal style has to be developed, and a certain sense of humour can't hurt. And last but not least, versatility is important - ballad, blues or musical numbers should be in the repertoire. Every song, one might add, must sound as if the performer had written it himself. If you apply this catalogue of criteria, you will certainly find some singers who do justice to at least part of it. But only very few who fulfil it completely and even surpass it through their originality. Melanie Charles clearly belongs to this minority, even though the singer, flautist and composer, born in New York City in 1988, cannot yet look back on a rich oeuvre. But if you listen to her albums - three so far, the most recent being "Y'All Don't (Really) Care About Black Women" on Verve - which play with all kinds of styles, are enriched with electronics and yet recorded with a respectful bow to tradition, Melanie Charles not only demonstrates a very bright awareness of heritage, but also incorporates genres such as hip hop or funk, works with overdub and sample techniques or uses breakbeats. This is highly refined quotation jazz, but not in the sense of being stale, rather as a very contemporary revitalisation of ancestors such as Billie Holiday, intense musical delimitations included. Last year Melanie Charles opened the Enjoy Jazz Festival with her trio and sent an enthusiastic audience into six festival weeks. In its review of the evening, the RNZ paid tribute not only to the political aspects that Charles accentuates in the lyrics, but also in the collage-like form of her highly complex music. But also the always noticeable Caribbean influences in her pieces - her family has Haitian roots. What made the concert special, according to the RNZ, was the high artistic standard of this singer and composer, which goes far beyond the usual jazz business. That's why it won't be business as usual when Melanie Charles returns to the festival and the Alte Feuerwache with a quartet. Joy of playing, surprises, enthusiasm are pre-programmed, and a new, even more powerful sound.


At a glance

Start: Sunday, October 16, 2022, 20:00

Admission: 19:00

Location: Alte Feuerwache, Brückenstraße 2, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, 68167, Germany

Seating: Not specified

Tickets: 24 Euro

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Melanie Charles : voc, electronics

Zacchae'us Paul: keys, electronics

Robert Ikiz: dr


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