Review: Caro Emerald, Harrogate International Centre, October 6

DUTCH jazz chanteuse Caro Emerald will be playing York Barbican on November 3, so here was an earlier North Yorkshire opportunity to see how Emerald shined.

She passed this way only last year, planting her metaphorical flag on Emerald Island in Harrogate in April.

Still the wait goes on for the perfectionist Emerald to release a follow-up album to 2013's The Shocking Miss Emerald, but 2017 did bring the six-track Emerald Island EP, from which she plundered Tahitian Skies and The Ghost of You for her Harrogate set list.

You travel somewhere exotic with Caro in her new live show too. Before her arrival, video imagery played on the big screen of a window-seat view of an aeroplane wing, flying through azure blue skies to a holiday haven. Cuba, as it turned out, because Caro has gone for a retro Cuban vibe from the Castro days, even singing a delicious, seductive cover of Camila Cabello's 2018 megahit, Havana, an inspired choice.

Harrogate's audience, pretty much all older than Miss Emerald, needed warming up; the plush International Centre is almost too comfortable, and singer and sleek band were in chilled-out mode too, so all that was missing was an iced Cuba Libre for maximum mellowness.

From a graceful glide, Caro hit her stride on the home straight, from the wake-up call of Wake Up Romeo, through Havana and Back It Up, and onwards to the fabulously inviting Liquid Lunch and That Man, where her dexterous voice reigned supreme.

By now, her patter was more playful too, as she saw out the night in full swing with The Other Woman, Stuck and A Night Like This. You too can enjoy another night like this in York next month. Book early!

Charles Hutchinson