HOOT JAZZ FESTIVAL
David Washington - InDaily.com (June 2013)
It’s almost become a cliché, but it seems a shame that wonderful musicians like Vincent’s Chair continue to fly under most people’s radar while cookie-cutter singers gain overnight fame through the dubious agency of reality television.
Vincent’s Chair are the real deal – wonderful local musicians playing all-original, beautifully crafted songs.
At their second appearance at the Hoot! Jazz Festival, they attracted a strong crowd to the Festival Club – a neat transformation of the old Mt Barker town hall in Gawler Street. The club operates cabaret-style, with tables and chairs, and a bar.
Kathie Renner is the heartbeat of the band, writing the songs, singing, and playing piano and guitar. The music is all her own – often tinged with her gentle sense of humour – but it has impeccable musical heritage.
"Vincent’s Chair are the real deal – wonderful local musicians playing all-original, beautifully crafted songs."
How to describe the pop/folk/jazz sounds that Renner produces? It’s like Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb collaborated – and wouldn’t you love to hear that? (The band has done a regular Joni Mitchell tribute show, most recently at Fringe and previously at the Cabaret Festival.)
Renner has a wonderful, pure voice, but it’s also versatile. This set included a torch song, “It’s Time”, written for expat Adelaide jazz singer Anita Wardell, which sounds like a standard straight out of the 1940s, but there was also Middle Eastern-inflected pop, a folk ballad, light Latin-rhythm tunes and numerous others that defy categorisation.
Against the spirit of the age, the music is restrained and elegant; the lyrics intimate, personal and meaningful.
It’s a tight little group, with violist Karen De Nardi and guitarist Sam Leske providing a beautiful counterpoint to Renner’s musical questions, and percussionist Holly Thomas keeping the show moving along.
Vincent’s Chair recently toured Europe, and have a new CD, It’s Time. Strike a blow for hard-working, talented local musicians and buy the CD on iTunes or from their website.
THE NEW VIBE LAUNCH, SESSIONS - ADELAIDE FESTIVAL THEATRE
Patricia Herreen - INDaily (Jan 2014)
Vincent’s Chair delighted their audience at last night’s intimate Sessions show with a collection of heartfelt stories and precious moments performed in song.
The accomplished Adelaide group – world-recognised for their captivating acoustic sound – filled the Space Theatre with new tunes and old songs, accompanied by special guests Shaun Duncan on double bass and Anita Wardell on vocals.
It was a special occasion, with the show launching Vincent’s Chair’s new CD, The New Vibe, featuring singer-songwriter Kathie Renner on keyboards and vocals, Karen DeNardi on viola, Sam Leske on guitar, and Holly Thomas on drums and percussion.
From her opening line, “Welcome to our little soiree”, Renner had the audience eating out of her hand, sharing engaging anecdotes and her own brand of well-measured quirkiness and inclusive humour. A tongue-in-cheek sharing of a dream Renner said she had the night before, where the audience spontaneously got up and danced, planted a vibrant seed!
"Renner had the audience eating out of her hand"
All songs had their own appeal, with a number of stand-out lines such as “life’s too precious a gift to squander” in “Do Something” (from the 2010 release It’s Time), and “finally I’m comfortable, finally I’m home” in “This Room”. Adelaide -born, dynamic BBC Jazz Award winner Wardell, who lives in London, joined the band for a special rendition of “Travels the Road”, complete with angelic vocals and a spine-tingling jazz scat section.
“The Gift”, a song “for people who are searching”, began with Renner and DeNardi alone on stage, united in a powerful instrumental interlude of guitar and viola. This stand-alone performance, supported by a stylish lighting change, induced a deeper connection, which was sustained by the incredible musical and lyrical expertise of these extraordinary musicians.
The new album’s title track, “A New Vibe”, continued the theme of two-on-stage, with Renner and Leske in a fusion of fun, “whiskey and Coke”, and a whimsical approach to a clear message to “follow your own dreams”. The joy and enthusiasm Leske expresses on stage is infectious.
The individual quality of each artist is woven through the music, from Thomas’s haunting heartbeat drumbeat to Duncan’s grounding double bass. The smooth, casual mood created by the silky tones of this masterful musical synergy strikes images of warm, balmy nights around a moonlit pool or sipping a glass of red while gazing into the crackling embers of an outback open fire in winter. Whatever your chosen backdrop, listening to Vincent’s Chair soulful new album, The New Vibe, is sure to transport you to your favourite resting place.
To top off the evening, the dream of which Renner spoke at the start of the show was realised during the encore, when the boppy tune “This is My Time” lured four-year-old Maisy – a gorgeous little girl with long golden locks – to the floor, spontaneously jumping out of her seat to dance and prove that dreams do come true.
Vincent’s Chair performed at the Space Theatre as part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Sessions series of summer live music gigs.
THE NEW VIBE LAUNCH, SESSIONS - ADELAIDE FESTIVAL THEATRE
Kryztoff Raw: Review (Jan 2014)
Vincent's Chair is a local group led by the mightily purposeful Kathie Renner who writes and leads the vocals for this five person group (including & plus friends) with looks that remind one of Mia Farrow.
The music could go on any number of descriptors including soft rock, folk, R&B but one's eyes do not need to be closed for long Renner's voice to remind one of Joni Mitchell, perhaps wrapped in a luscious Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio. Songs came from their previous albums and the most recent, The New Vibe", with the title song a lovely poke at the pretentious who value themselves by their joint visibility with the next big thing.
"Renner's voice reminds one of Joni Mitchell, perhaps wrapped in a luscious Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio"
The highlight, for me at least, was the first track off that new album, He said She Said, sung with local girl but now London jazz favourite, Anita Wardell, with only a modest amount of her signature scat sound involved.
Mellow indeed, Vincent's Chair can be listened to anytime and anywhere as I am now as I write this.
“I just love this CD - fresh, intelligent, musical and very soulful. The band sound amazing, fab songs and arrangements”
BBC Award winning Jazz singer, London, UK
(It's Time CD)
“Really inspiring stuff... the compositions and arrangements blew me away... so sophisticated.”
Singer-songwriter, Sydney, Australia
“I must say your CD is incredible. The melodies, the harmonies, the arrangements are amazing and the music is well played and well sung”
Jazz Pianist, Barcelona, Spain
(It's Time CD)
"Vincent's Chair is an extremely affable trio; especially for musical souls needing 'some real music' that refuses to allow itself to be to be stereo-typed."
“It struck me how well you three ‘looked after’ the music, knowing what you wanted to bring in and when, as though it was it’s own member of the group.”
Radio Adelaide, Australia
“Finally got 'round to listening to your album and it's really FAB!.”
"Been meaning to write and say how much we enjoyed the album; lovely smooth sound, great musicianship and singing."
While and Matthews
BBC Folk Legends
THE NEW VIBE - CD REVIEW - USA
Steve Klingaman, Minor 7th - (Feb 2015)
Vincent's Chair"The New Vibe" 2014 Vincent's Chair is, above all, Kathie Renner, her voice, her guitar, and her songs. Next, you'll notice the divine Karen De Nardi, who places the viola square in the center of luscious pop acoustic arrangements, with a tone and presence that perfectly match the guitars of producer/band mate Sam Leske and Renner. Open tunings and chords figure prominently in Renner's music, leading to plenty of Joni Mitchell comparisons.
"luscious pop acoustic arrangements"
The opener, "He Said She Said," is jazz inflected acoustic pop distinguished by staccato starts and stops that recall a bit of Ani DeFranco in the vocal phrasing. "One Door Closer," with its folk chords and pizzicato viola that almost recall the charengo, reinforce that the focus of The New Vibe is on the voice and the exquisite arrangements. Renner's singing reveals a precision you might find in a voice like Linda Ronstadt's, and her discursive lyricism recalls songwriters like Lucy Kaplansky. It's a very pleasant listen, and a very well-recorded team effort.
THE NEW VIBE - CD REVIEW
SIAN WILLIAMS - (May 2014)
It is a few years now since this gorgeous’ trio’s last full length offering; this could be due to the fact that they have been busy scouring romantic and far-flung corners of the globe in Europe and the UK. All three original members of the trio are sought after musicians in their native Adelaide, for all kinds of studio session work, song writing and often being invited to share the stage with the big touring bands- DeNardi- the group’s violist- most recently sharing the stage with Michael Buble in an eclectic and carefully chosen string ensemble for his national tour. This is all alongside their own main act of course- Vincent’s Chair- a name now synonymous with beautiful and intricate arrangements, thought provoking lyrics and sensitively captured moments.
"...in a vein similar to to something penned by Adele"
Their newest album is a beautiful collection of stories, written by songstress Kathie Renner who once again delights with the glimpse into her gentle and thoughtful nature. Her lyrics reflect her careful observation of life, and together with such sophisticated and ‘tight knit’ musicians alongside, have managed to put together an album which is so easy to listen to you won’t want to be getting up to change the disc at the end; rather will allow it to run over and over again.
“This Room” takes you on a reflective trip through the idea of solidarity where once there was
companionship, and the realisation that one will always survive on the other side. The weaving viola threads its way through to the deepest recesses of your own loneliness and conjures similar feelings in a vein similar to to something penned by ‘Adele"
“He Said She Said” is a sunshiny sounding song with a jazzy beat which makes me want to fling open a window and smile at all walking by in the street. Such is the nature of Renner’s voice, where she alternates between many different styles as well as moods.
“The Gift” has a folksy feel to it and it is only here, on track 5, that I start to truly understand the consistency of the unobtrusive yet perfectly balanced accompaniment provided by all the musicians throughout the album. Sam Leske provides much of the guitar work- he also can proudly claim the title as being the albums producer. The collaboration of the three is clearly the result of many performances together; there is no inequality of roles within the music and it is apparent that each musician knows exactly what the song in question requires. “Step On My Memory” again switches moods, to a bluesy sound with the addition of a fabulous sounding double bass and percussionist by Holly Thomas, who often performs with and records with the band. Together they offer a sensuous and flirtatious sound, with the trill of the viola at the start of the song and a lovely bit of slide in the middle.
“The New Vibe” sums up this album perfectly- it is overall - fresh, likeable, easy to listen to and thought provoking. As a musician I am torn between wanting to examine the lyrics and allowing myself to feel the sound wash over me as I croon along with the music.
An album with something for all lovers of life. And music, of course.
THE NEW VIBE - CD REVIEW
GREG ELLIOTT - (Indaily.com - April 2014)
Singer-songwriter Kathie Renner is the creative force behind Adelaide band Vincent’s Chair, which includes Sam Leske (guitar), Karen De Nardi (viola), Holly Thomas (percussion) and Shaun Duncan (double bass).
The group has achieved considerable success with tours to Europe and the UK, and recently released a fourth album, the new vibe.
From the initial acoustic guitar strumming of Leske and soothing viola of De Nardi on the first track, “He Said She Said”, Vincent’s Chair create a sound that is easy to listen to and relaxing. Add to that Renner’s Joni Mitchell-like bright, vibrant vocals and her interesting, playful lyrics with simple rhyming schemes and enough complexity and contradiction to amuse and entertain, and the album has a full and complete sound. Thomas’s deft percussive work and Duncan’s double bass add to an already rich sound.
In “Next in Line” there’s enough mystery in the lyrics to create a sense of wonder for the listener, while “The Gift” is delightfully pure and positive, achieved with just vocals, guitar and viola.
Renner’s lyrics explore relationships and contain some home-spun philosophy about finding strength as a human: in “One Door Closer”, the lyrics and rhythms are catchy and you find yourself singing along with the choruses.
For a small group, Vincent’s Chair creates a surprising variety of sounds. “This Room” begins with Thomas on djembe and there is a reflective, almost haunting quality as the lyrics and music encapsulate the sadness a room evokes when a broken relationship is remembered in that space. With some lively electric guitar, there is a bright, up-beat song, “Step on my Memory”, which combines the image of being immortalised in pavement with the concern of memories being stepped on.
The final, title track, “the new vibe”, has a sense of urgency with its use of only acoustic guitar and overtone of change being in the wind.
Vincent Chair’s the new vibe is a very pleasant album featuring quality musicians, toe-tapping tunes, syncopated rhythms, Kathie Renner’s melodious vocals and poetic lyrics that depict the roller-coaster nature of relationships.
IT'S TIME - CD REVIEW
Kathie Renner’s newest project has perhaps taken off even more successfully than even she may have envisioned. Fronting Adelaide trio “Vincent’s Chair” their newest offering “Its Time’, released 2010 has captured the attention of audiences internationally where they have recently returned from a tour of the UK and Europafest.
Their album is discernibly indefinable, except perhaps to say it should be allocated only to the ears of those wishing for a pleasant and soulful mix of folk, jazz, pop, and the highest quality arrangements of its sensual blend of guitar, piano and viola. Renner’s voice is soothing and uplifting and her lyrics truly unable to be categorised, a fact that perhaps allow the trio to play wherever their musical whims may lead them.
A feel of loose improvisation hides the fact that their arrangements are actually cleverly crafted to ensure one feels wrapped in a blanket of the most delicate melodies. One of the smoke and mirrors type sensation one feels after this album has been on repeatedly for hours, as I found it difficult to turn off once on. The Sultry jazzy feel of “It’s time” contrasts sharply with the quirky and upbeat happy go lucky melody behind “I can’t see”. This track is highly contagious and the alternating rhythmic sections with the light hearted shakers opposed to the Joni Mitchell like rambling lyrical feel is reminiscent of the abstract musician Renner clearly has felt a musical affinity with. “Another Time and Place” commences with a very lounge feel and develops into almost a Miller-Heideke type story being told by Renner’s crystal clear voice. De Nardi's beautiful viola is showcased heavily through the album yet in a subtle and clever way, particularly in tracks such as ‘Do Something”, where she weaves in and out of the picture with ease.
Vincent’s Chair is an extremely affable trio who would not be out of place in most venues, or the homes of many folk enjoying any kind of real, original music. An album especially for musical souls needing ‘some real music’ that refuses to allow itself to be boxed or stereotyped.
AT THE FIRST SIGN - CD REVIEW
Michael Hunter (db Magazine 2003)
On this, their debut studio album, Adelaide band Vincent's Chair start as they mean to go on. The opening track 1064 is pretty much a combination of all the elements that make this such an interesting and entertaining CD - an intriguing mix of jazz, folk and rock with professional musicianship, intelligent lyrics and warm, melodic vocals. To call it "adult" music would be an accurate enough description, and certainly meant in a positive way!
The modern jazz elements are probably those that come to the surface most regularly, though often mixed with a rock sensibility, and added touches such as viola, 'cello and violin on To love someone that way show they are unafraid to experiment with arrangements and textures. Lead singer and keyboardist, Kathie Renner wrote the majority of the songs, which often paint intriguing word pictures and show a good deal of thought and life experience.
Each member is given the chance to shine throughout, such as Shaun Duncan's bass solo on My Siamese Twin or the keyboard and fiddle work on the wonderfully acerbic Disappointed to name a couple of instances. I detected a kind of Joan Armatrading influence on a couple of tracks but that is just as a reference rather than any direct copying.
The entire package is smooth in terms of music, production and presentation. Each player brings something important to the whole, which is of a world-class standard and certainly impressive in its own right.
As they say, watch this space.