ONE of the most recognisable vocalists on the planet opens the 15th Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival tonight
While the crowds wrapping up for his latest Dubai set will be keeping an ear out for Jones gems It’s Not Unusual, Kiss, Delilah, and What’s New Pussycat, the ‘jazz’ setting surely calls for him to draw on more recent material.
After all, his most recent albums - Long Lost Suitcase, Spirit in The Room and Praise & Blame, have earned the 76-year-old some of the strongest reviews of his career.
Live the often raw and plaintive tunes have brought live show acclaim for the singer, who has never shied away from applying his instrument to a variety of genres.
Sir Tom still exhibits energy that defies his age, not least since the passing of his wife of 59 years seemed to galvanise him into tougher performing schedules.
Since his hip-swaggering early days as a sex symbol pop star with his own TV shows, Jones has sold more than 100 million records, early hits such as Green, Green Grass of Home, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, and If I Only Knew, unlikely landmarks in a career that has seen him share stages with the likes of Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran, Soundgarden, Florence + The Machine and the polarising Jessie J, one of his fellow former coaches from TV talent search show The Voice UK.
“With a line-up that features heavyweights such as Sir Tom Jones, Mariah Carey and Enrique Iglesias coming together to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we fervently hope to establish the UAE and the Dubai Jazz Festival as important destinations for outstanding live events,” he says.
“At the heart of this mission is, of course, our goal to provide memorable and unique experiences for music fans all over the world.”
In what sounds like apt billing, New York City-based blues musicians The Rad Trads open for the Welsh foghorn.
The band arrives with a reputation as a charismatic live act, led by four musicians. The Rad Trads’ success story stems from friendship formed at NYU and playing for drinks at their favourite Brooklyn bars.
With powerful horns and a driving rhythm section, the band cites influences ranging from The E Street band and Mad Dogs and Englishmen to the Beatles and Taj Mahal.
“In past editions, we launched adjacent music activations such as World of Jazz, Jazz Garden and Jazz Legends under the umbrella of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival,” says Anthony.
“Playing a pioneering role and leaving a mark on Dubai’s music scene has always been a fundamental part of what we do. To commemorate our 15th anniversary, we wanted to introduce something new that allowed our fans to come celebrate our uniqueness and that’s exactly what we’ve done with the Anghami Sessions that has been created in partnership with the music app Anghami and Yamaha.”
Tonight you can sample regional Dubai-based jazz soul pioneer Rouba on Sub Stage 1 while four-member Lebanon-based band Postcards will blend dream-pop and folk music on Sub Stage 2. Thursday catches Mexican Lebanese singer-songwriter and producer Blu Fiefer with a glamour hip hop show, while Battle of the Bands finalist Mougleta unveils her Stories from the Jungle on Sub Stage 2.
Day three hosts Dubai-based band Abri and Funk Radius on Sub Stage 1 while finishing the line up on Sub Stage 2 Levantine Jazz sensation Layla Kardan will enchant listeners with her signature sultry jazz and soul tunes.
FOR timings and ticket information go to www.dubaijazzfest.com
IF you have an Entertainer app, right now you can buy tickets at 50 per cent off the formal price.