WhatsApp Image 2019-07-23 at 14.20.39
Sedna at the Jazz Bar (Credit: Owen Garner)

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has brought with it some unmissable performances and Sedna ’s first ever show was one of those ‘I was there’ moments.

Stephen Henderson and Irina Arabatzi presented their new project Sedna to a packed out Jazz Bar for their first ever performance as a group. With an audience that was quick to applaud the musical prowess on display, Henderson and Arabatzi, along with Matt Carmichael (saxophone), Graeme Stephen (guitar) and James Lindsay (bass), showcased the fresh new sound of this exciting “spur of the moment” band.

Some members of the band appeared to still be learning the music just moments before the show began. This was by no means apparent during the performance however as the consummate professionalism of this collective of very talented musicians was on full show at this gig. Henderson’s playing is more prominent here than in other projects (Mezcla, Fergus McCreadie Trio) and his playing was faultless, never missing a beat and changing time signatures with grace and ease.

The band laid a solid musical foundation that really allowed Arabatzi to shine. She showed her versatility with a voice that was at times almost operatic whilst also being able to maintain a playful edge.

After a short break the second set began without warning, a fact that showed the group were confident in their performance which spoke for itself. During one song that began with Arabatzi singing unaccompanied one audience member turned to their companion and mouthed “wow” – an event which perfectly summed up the night’s proceedings.

Some bands that have a drum-led sound can be heavier and more intense but with Sedna it was often the case that a song would build to a crescendo, then the wave would break and the music gently washed over you.

When the evening was drawing to a close and Arabatzi informed the audience that the next song would be their last and the Jazz Bar let out a collective “aww”. This was not an instinctive call and response reaction but the genuine disappointment of a room that all been completely charmed by Arabatzi’s stage presence.

As many great performances do, this show ended on a high with Arabatzi sharing a song that always cheers her up. Listening to their final number it was impossible not to have a beaming smile as you were filled with a sense of pure joy, a feeling which didn’t fade for a long time after the show was over.

By Owen Garner