03 November 2019 (gig)
11 November 2019
Judith Hill along with her 4 piece band are performing at the Blue Note Milano tonight as part of the JazzMi festival held in Milan every autumn. Judith Hill’s rise to fame is an interesting story. A backing singer from an early age working with the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Roots and Elton John she would and should have got her big break from the ritualistic backing singer treadmill had Michal Jackson’s ‘This Is It’ tour gone ahead, as Judith had been chosen to be the duet partner for the song “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, but fate as we all know stepped in and the tour was cancelled. Having to participate for ‘The Voice USA’ in 2013 could not have been easy especially with a rather unexpected and disputed elimination during the show.
However no less than Prince picked up on her talent quite haphazardly apparently, and with his known generosity towards new and aspiring artists asked her to come to Paisley Park no less, and in three weeks with ‘The Purple One’ as producer, a debut solo album “Back In Time” was born. An album ‘Golden Child’ followed in 2018 and now Judith Hill has a successful career as a solo artist as her visit to the Blue Note testifies.
On stage are no less than her mom and dad, respectively Michiko Hill on Hammond and synth along with Peewee Hill on bass. Michiko a Japanese pianist met the afro American bass player Peewee in the 70’s playing together in a funk group, hence the undeniable soul funk groove that Judith exudes and that must have attracted Prince. At times her singing has the soulful purity and pain of Amy Winehouse as in “Footsteps” and “Cry Cry Cry” whilst playing piano, and when she straps on the guitar as in ‘Gypsy Lover’ and ‘You Can’t blame me’ her affinity with Prince is apparent .
The band have a good vibe on stage and are allowed to perform within the framework of the songs. ‘Angel In The Dark’ has the pop nuance of Lady Gaga and by the time the band perform the encores of ‘My People’ and ‘The Pepper Club’ everyone is convinced that Judith Hill is not only damn good but also star material, and beautiful to boot. ‘His Royal Badness’ I am sure would have been proud of his protégé.