Caro Emerald (Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw) is a Dutch Jazz singer who burst onto the Dutch scene in 2009 with her debut single "Back It Up", closely followed by her debut album Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor. It is one of those rare blow-you-away-on-the-spot albums which wins instant converts from those who claim not to like the genre!
The album was wildly successful in Holland, quickly eclipsing the
record of Michael Jackson's Thriller for successive weeks at that
country's #1 album spot. From there, Deleted Scenes gradually won over
larger audiences across Europe, most notably in the UK and Germany. The
album was only released in the USA in late 2012.
Emerald's music is hard to adequately describe. It is basically
straight-ahead 1920's-style Big Band Jazz, but performed with a level of
gusto, commitment, and panache that is quite unique. I think what she
has done is to take the idiom of an almost century-old music style, and
set about performing it without trying to painstakingly replicate the
authenticity of the period. Back in the day, when this style of music
was the latest thing, it was conceived to appeal to the brave new world
of the young post-war generation, and to intentionally separate itself
from the established musical forms of the time. It played to the
hippest cats around. The big bands who created and performed this music
were the free spirits of their age, and what they were playing was new,
different, and so, so modern. How do you recapture that today? Any
big band jazz on record today which would be considered authentic, is
inevitably also seriously dated. How do we capture what those original
audiences must have felt, when to hear it for ourselves invokes, at
What Caro Emerald does is to use modern
performing and recording techniques, modern playing styles, modern
recording and mixing styles. In a nutshell, she has re-imagined the
genre as though it had never previously existed, and created it anew
using the available musical vocabulary of the 21st Century. Thus the
thundering underpinning drum beat, the hints of a house or hip-hop vibe,
and a soundstage that places you right there in a hot, steamy,
speakeasy nightclub. Incredibly, it is an album that suddenly allows
the 20's to make sense.
Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor is an amazing achievement. You just gotta hear it, dude!