Soul Bag Live Review: Valerie Ghent in Paris – La Dame de Canton

Valerie Ghent
La Dame de Canton, Paris 13e

Soul Bag magazine has written about this New York-based artist several times in recent years. A musician and sound engineer, Valerie Ghent worked with Ashford & Simpson both on stage and in the studio for two decades, and continues to work regularly with Valerie Simpson. Ghent recorded Simpson’s last solo album while at the same time pursuing her own musical career.

The Parisian date, the final concert of a (too) discreet tour which began in the South of France, presented her new album, Velours, and Valerie opened her show with the title song. For this concert she was accompanied by French musicians who contributed to the parts of the Velours album recorded in France: top keyboardist (and spot-on harmonicist) Pierre Sibille, close collaborator guitarist Jérôme Buigues, whose playing intensified the songs, and on a few numbers – for the first time – a small horn section featuring Nicolas Baudino (saxophone) and Marc Borlet-Hôte (trumpet).

Marc Borlet-Hôte, Nicolas Baudino, François Gomez, Pierre Sibille, Valerie Ghent

Jessy Rakotomanga, Valerie Ghent, Jérôme Buigues

Even with bringing in brand-new drummer Jessy Rakotomanga for the Paris show, the band is very solid and clearly at the peak of the extremely successful sound of the new album. Songs from Velours constituted the main part of the evening’s program, which also included titles from Ghent’s 2012 album, Day to Day Dream, and a great version of Supernatural Thing by Ben E. King. Although a bit cramped on small stage of La Dame de Canton, Valerie Ghent nevertheless brought home the show, whether while playing the keyboard or descending from the stage to get closer to the public, and won over the audience with her interpretation of songs as varied as very catchy Get Funkay or the more pop It’s Got to Be You.

Pierre Sibille, Valerie Ghent, Jérôme Buigues


Marc Borlet-Hôte, Nicolas Baudino, François Gomez, Pierre Sibille, Valerie Ghent, Jérôme Buigues

All confirms the excellent impression and feel of her recent albums and one hopes that Valerie Ghent will become a regular presence on French stages.

Valerie Ghent, Jérôme Buigues

Frédéric Adrian
Dec 12, 2016

Photos © Éric Massaud

Translated from French with permission from Soul Bag Magazine. Read the original review on the Soul Bag website HERE.

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