PROM 7: JACOB COLLIER AND FRIENDS | BBC Proms 2018

Is it too early to call this a highlight of the Proms season? 23-year-old music prodigy and YouTube star Jacob Collier, “jazz’s new messiah” (The Guardian), stunned the crowd at the Royal Albert Hall in this overwhelming, luscious extravaganza with Jules Buckley and the Metropole Orkest.

It’s hard to know where to start with such a jaw-dropping evening of music, but Collier’s rambunctious and unhinged “Everlasting Motion” in the second half, featuring renowned Gnawa musician Hamid El Kasri (with a percussion entourage) in his U.K. debut, sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Collier’s “Once You” may be the greatest break-up song ever written, enriched with breathtaking orchestration (Stefan Behrisch) and a violin solo by Collier’s mother.

Take 6, widely regarded as one of the greatest a capella groups in the world, wowed us with Collier’s YouTube-famous arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s “You And I”. A thrilling arrangement of folky “Pat Do This, Pat Do That” had singer-songwriter Sam Amidon plucking banjo and singing along with col legno strings and tubular bells.

Collier’s soaring, choral falsetto in real life, without being digitised and perfected, is immensely more human than his studio recordings, and the same goes for hearing his masterful songs performed by an extraordinary ensemble of musicians, rather than just Collier multi-tracked. But we got solo Collier too, in a ten minute vocoder encore riffing on Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird”, with audience participation. Highlight of the season yes, and a Prom for the ages too.

1,350 £6 Promming tickets are available on the day for every performance.

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