Frazey Ford and Sophia Marshall at Cadogan Hall – EFG London Jazz Festival


Cadogan Hall is slowly filling up and people are patiently waiting for the enchanting woman with the hazy vocals, Frazey Ford, to come out on stage. But first up is supporting artist Sophia Marshall, originally from the band ‘The Have Nots’, who despite the size of the stage manages to fill it with only bass, ukulele, acoustic guitar and her mesmerizing vocals. Sophia Marshall and her sister Sara Marshall come together in beautifully formed harmonies, captivating the audience that sit quietly as in a state of trance. Marshall’s songwriting and the well-defined melodies have transformed Cadogan Hall into the Grand Ole Opry for the evening.

The feeling lingers when Frazey Ford walks on stage with her comparatively bigger ensemble, reflecting on her bold and beautiful personality, as she kicks of the band with no instrument left behind. The first thing anyone would notice about Ford’s vocals is her unique singing technique where she almost whispers, rolls syllables and stretches words into unrecognizable sounds. Sometimes there is no way of telling what the lyrics actually are but, because of her chilled tone of voice, the ambiguity creates a captivating aura around the songs. The saxophone and trumpet chirps in between Ford’s phrases in ‘September Fields’ making you want to tap your feet and snap your fingers.

By inviting us in to her childhood, with anecdotes from a 60’s Canada, in between titles like ‘Running’, ‘Done’, and ‘Weather Pattern’, from her latest album ‘Indian Ocean’, the auditorium is turned into a more personal and intimate venue. After giving us a glimpse of her musical influences Dylan and Franklin, Ford finishes the set with the title track of the album. With its strong and simplistic chorus it leaves us in a place of warmth as we step back into the cold November night.

– Karin Jonsson