The Cactus Cafe, you quickly feel at home there, except that there is little chance you’ll have the pleasure of seeing Pamela Hart singing with the excellent saxophonist Michael Malone at her side and the fabulous bassist Jeremy George in the background, but at the Cactus Cafe… Yes!
By the way, once again, we thank their always friendly team, thanks to whom these concerts are always intense and of high quality. That being said, Pamela Hart’s concert last night was a special moment. Pamela, with her smile, generosity, and admirable voice, showcased a formidable technique that would make many singers I’ve heard in my life attempting to sing “Fever,” “Summertime,” or other jazz standards envious. Pamela is an absolutely fabulous performer who takes you on a journey through jazz history, infusing every note with her soul and passion in this small 143-seat venue, culminating in a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience.
Passionate about artists like Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, whom she can rival effortlessly, 25 years of dedicated work have shaped this artist. In 1991, Pamela joined the Black Arts Alliance and presented the Black Women in Jazz project. In 1994, she and Kevin Hart founded the Women in Jazz Association, Inc. with the aim of preserving jazz. The organization continues to grow, offering concerts, vocal workshops, and youth programs focused on jazz education and performance. We’ll soon talk about this project in its next event, and undoubtedly, it will be another moment of quality.
Behind Pamela Hart, there was our friend Michael Malone and his team, truly fascinating musicians serving Pamela, providing her with excellent accompaniment. The balance between the singing and musical passages was perfectly calibrated. Pamela’s a capella introduction to “Fever” with only Jeremy George’s double bass behind her was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening, beautiful in its simplicity.
I will refer to Pamela Hart’s biography to show you the significance of her work: Pamela Hart has received many awards for her community work as a jazz supporter. These include Austin Jazz Players and Critic’s Poll awards for Best Female Jazz Singer, the Connie Yerwood Conner National Woman of Achievement Award, the Jazz at St. James A.D. Mannion Award, the Texas State University Outstanding Alumni Award, the Links Austin Chapter Arts Award, and the BOSS Award of Distinction. She is a member of the prestigious Texas Touring Roster, and in 2018, Pamela Hart was inducted into the Austin Jazz Society Hall of Fame. On June 11, 2023, Pamela won the “Best Female Jazz Performer” award at the Black Music Awards – Houston.
Undoubtedly, if you are in Austin, the Cactus Cafe is a place you must visit. Not only can you hear the best of jazz, but also artists we have been broadcasting on Bayou Blue Radio for years, such as Elysa Gilkyson, have performed there. That shows the importance of this venue and its place in Austin’s cultural sphere.
We’ve heard that Michael Malone will have three more dates at the Cactus Cafe, as his concerts are so appreciated. So, Michael, if you’re reading these few lines, please do us a favor and keep one of those three dates to play your own works, which also deserve to be known.
PARIS-MOVE, July 26th 2023