Aubrey Logan

Aubrey Logan at the E-Spot Lounge: sass, jazz, and heartbreak.

Review: Aubrey Logan was in top form Thursday night at the historical E-Spot Lounge in Studio City at the edge of Hollywood, delivering her customary sass and jazz and trombone, but she raised the bar for herself with a voice that was more animated, more fun and more loaded with emotion than I have ever heard before in her live performances.

Logan’s website describes her as “breaking traditional genre barriers by combining jazz vocals with R&B, neo-soul, pop and a touch of rock”, which well describes her recordings but misses the power, emotion and sheer joy of what she can do on stage. She has always been at home in front of an audience, but she was bigger than life Thursday night despite the fact that the E-Spot was unplugged for the evening while the venue renewed its amplification permit.  No speakers made no difference to Logan; her voice - even at its softest and more heartbroken whisper - was clear in back in the room and her rubber-expressive face and Betty Boop eyes telegraphed every word and emotion as if she were starring in a silent movie.

And she worked hard.  She gave us 15 songs and an encore, along with a pianist, standup bassist, and backup singer. Some of the tunes were  her well-known mashups  and medleys of multiple songs and a few were new.  An every tune was hot, hot, hot. Both Logan and the audience were sweating when she finally said goodbye, and the LA heat wave was not the reason.

Logan, in a short red leather skirt and bright red sleeveless top – but without her signature fire-engine red platform heels -  opened the show with the Gershwin standard, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, accompanying herself on the trombone between verses and picking up the tempo halfway through with her trademark rapid  “jazz talk” lyrics.   After welcoming the audience and chatting she moved into  Bad Blood, from her Postmodern Jukebox video which is now pushing 750,000 downloads. Again bringing in the trombone, Logan made this Taylor Swift remake of Ella’s song her very own.

The pace picked up with No Girl, Logan’s trained-clear voice deepened slightly and enlarged by a backup singer, demonstrating the audience-pleasing arrangement lessons she learned on Season 8 of  American Idol. Moving into Starting to Believe, Logan unleashed the heartbreak,  filling the room with high-register emotion and deep need lyrics.  Here, she stepped out beyond past albums, beyond her previous performances and created a stronger, more passionate voice than I have heard before.  Especially memorable was Logan’s ability to turn up that passion while turning down the volume, like a red dwarf star collapsing into a black hole that is barely visible but can pull in the light from the galaxy. She brought the same power to bear later in the evening in Don’t Wanna Tell Nobody and especially in Impossible.

But the evening was not all passion and heartbreak.  She knew her fans would not let her off the stage without her very funny musical trip across the country in Route 66 (also a favorite with the audience watching the show around the world on Periscope), the audience clap-engaged Bills, along with her wrap up  song, a mashup of “My Boyfriend’s Back and Gossip, memorialized in her live video from the Republic of Pie.

The loud demand for  an encore resulted in a second Logan entrance to wild cheers and a  breathtaking performance of Wee Small Hours.  For 16 songs, trombone solos, joke, patter, clapping, audience leading and nonstop fun, Aubrey Logan showed that she is a superb musician, a killer performer and unquestionably LA’s Queen of  Sass, Jazz, and heartbreak.

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LA. Correspondent
Patrick O'Heffernan
@Music FridayLive!