Sunday, June 23, 2019

Yesterday, I returned from a very special seventy-two hours in Chicago singing two shows on Friday night in a beautiful, intimate space called Winter's Jazz Club, renowned for its appeal to audiences who are prepared to listen.  And listen they did, allowing me the chance to explore the lyrics as freely as I wished.

None of it would have been possible without the persistence of Chicago native Paul Mikos, a dedicated and loyal fan of The Great American Songbook, who also happens to like my singing.  He is a regular patron of Winter's JC, and thought the room would be an ideal setting for me if he could organize an engagement.  Well, organize he did, with grace and kindness.  We have been friends for many years, and now we are bound together by a new set of parameters.  

Winter's Jazz Club is guided in its "We want you to listen" policy by Scott Stegman, a true gentleman who has established WJC as a unique place, clearly focused on the Artist and his or her presentation.  He has been rewarded in his effort, and Winter's Jazz Club is a cherished landmark in Chicago.  Bravo, Scott, and thank you for giving me an extraordinary memories.

I admit I approached Friday night with some trepidation because I would be singing with musicians who didn't know me or my style, and in fact, would meet them for the first time on Thursday afternoon, minutes after my plane landed at O'Hare.  I knew instantly we would form a sympathetic trio, and I am ever grateful of how sensitive they were to me. They were most certainly listening to me!  Thank you Jeremy Kahn, and Patrick Mulcahey.  Isn't it nice we are such good pals so quickly? 

* * * * * * * * 


My next engagement is at Birdland in New York City, September 20 and 21.  Show on Friday starts at 5:30 PM, on Saturday, I'm on at 9:45 PM.  

I happily announce that legendary musicians have agreed to share the Birdland stage with me: Mike Renzi will play piano; Jay Leonhart will play bass, and fellow Rhode Islander Scott Hamilton will add tasty tenor sax flourishes.  Wow, huh?  Yes, I am eager for this one.  It will all be recorded, both as video for "Sloane, The Documentary" and an eventual CD.  

Life is good.  






Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Latest News And The Loss of a Passionate Jazz Scholar

   Here's where you'll find me in the near future:

   June 14 - BILL CHARLAP - REGATTA BAR BOSTON *
                      Peter Washington, Bass
                      Kenny Washington, Drums

   June 21 -  ONE NIGHT ONLY 
                    Winter's Jazz Club, Chicago
                   465 McClurg Court
                   312.344.1270
                    
   Sept. 20-21 - Birdland, New York
            Mike Renzi, Jay Leonhart
            ****Special Guest Scott Hamilton***
            A live recording for new cd

   Oct. 11 - The Clayton Center
                  Clayton, NC - Time TBA
                  "A Jazz Duet Recital" -
                        Carol Sloane and Mike Renzi

*  No, I'm not singing with Bill.  Just want to make sure you mark his date as a "MUST".  I will be in the audience, so I say that counts as one of the places where you'll find me in the coming months.

                                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE PASSIONATE JAZZ FAN

Gary Shivers and I, seeking funds during a drive at WUNC in Chapel Hill, in the early 1980's




      On February 2nd this year, a jazz scholar you never heard of quietly passed away without fanfare.  Those of us who loved and admired him were not shocked because he'd been ill for such a long time.  We all cried genuine tears of sadness, tears blended with a sense of relief as well because we knew he was no longer suffering.  Here are some of my fondest memories:

I remember the night I met Gary Shivers at a club called The Frog & Nightgown when it was located in the Cameron Village Subway in Raleigh.  He was new to the Triangle having just become General Manager at the NPR affiliate WUNC-FM, broadcasting from cramped studios on the UNC campus. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he inaugurated a Saturday morning program called “Gary Shivers On Jazz”, from 11 AM to 2 PM.  

At The Frog that night, he told me, with a broad smile: “I have all your albums”.  I was quite impressed because there were only two at the time, gathering dust in all sorts of unknown places, but obviously not at his house.  His compliment was genuine and sweet, and predictably we became best friends, sharing our love of jazz, good food, pretend vintage wine and classic black & white movies.  

After he left North Carolina to return to his birth place, we enjoyed marathon phone conversations between my home in a Boston suburb and his digs in Kansas City. These precious link-ups continued until the last one, about two weeks before he died.  Over the course of time he had shifted his focus to classical composers, having lovingly archived his enormous vinyl and cd jazz collection in a sort of cryonic state, maintaining his passionate focus on music, but now from Bird to Bach.

I can tell you with vivid memory that at precisely 11 AM every Saturday morning, I could hardly wait to hear what the opening GSOJ sounds would be: Five minutes of Sonny Rollins?  Phil Woods? Thelonious Monk? Bob Brookmeyer? And then his soothing, gently authoritative voice identified the artist, telling us why it was important that we spend the next hours enjoying and learning as he explained with undisguised glee when the recording was made, who all the sidemen were, who wrote the arrangements, how the musicians interacted, and whether it was raining that day … well, you get the idea. It gave him enormous pleasure to share his extensive knowledge with his loyal Saturday morning audience.

After three full hours of inspirational, fascinating, extraordinary improvisations, made easier to comprehend because of his concise explanations, one came away enlightened and refreshed, always wanting more. 

“Gary Shivers on Jazz” awakened neophytes, satisfied die-hards, and nourished thousands of starving jazz fans in the Triangle. May I say, without Gary Shivers, the lines of devoted jazz fans outside the doors of The Frog & Nightgown in Raleigh, or Stephen’s, After All in Chapel Hill would have been significantly diminished.

Gary Shivers died in Kansas City, MO on February 2, 2019.  R.I.P.

-Carol Sloane
Boston, March 31, 2019
                           
                                    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


When I drove into my parking space yesterday, I spotted the pair of morning doves who call to each other every morning outside my bedroom window.  They were engaged in gentle fore-play, preening each other, and eventually kissing.  I was fascinated to see the stuff of television nature programs, and didn't have anything better to do anyway.  Eventually, this activity signaled she was ready to mate, and he accomplished the act with lightening speed, quickly returning to his position beside her.  She seemed decidedly unimpressed with his performance, and hurriedly flew away, presumably to shop for baby clothes. He, on the other hand, hung around for few minutes, visibly congratulating himself.





"Gertrude.  You know you're the only one for me."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


Here's a sweet memory: It's near the end of 1967.  I am at my hairdressers at Revlon in Mid-town Manhattan when word sweeps through that Barbra Streisand has just arrived, and it's "Everyone on alert and at the ready".  My man, Mr. Edward, becomes slightly crazed, and begs me to arrange a meeting for him.  I haven't seen Barbra since our initial meeting in 1962, when she came to hear me sing at The Village Vanguard.  She did not identify herself, wore jeans and a t-shirt, with no sign of a purse.  I had no idea she was stopping the show every night playing Miss Marmelstein in the Broadway hit "I Can Get It For You Wholesale".  

I do remember she asked "How do you do that"?, referring to those few improvisational elements which were becoming part of my developing style.  We talked about that, and I told her how jazz singing was my life's dedication, happily trailing along behind my favorite legendary jazz singers Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday.  Ours was an amicable chat, and away she went. 

Because I didn't want to disturb her while she was being beautified, I decided to send a note into her private room at Revlon.  She flipped the note to write her sweet response on the reverse, and it was delivered to me in the midst of my own beautification:


Love the part about how she envies me a trip to LA!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

I WAS UNAVOIDABLY DETAINED ...

Carol Sloane
October 30, 2018


I am resuming my writing exercises which were interrupted by a series of prolonged, annoying events, producing an unavoidable and decidedly unwelcome breach in the proceedings.  After hours of conversations with the tech-articulate, I believe equilibrium has been restored. Yet again. 


* * * * * * 
Table of Contents

The Rant

Duke University Residency
Snow Creams
Steve Cosentino
The Boston Red Sox
Birdland Appearance



I have been publishing this Blog (sporadically, I admit) since 2007, scrupulously avoiding political comment of any stripe.  However, the current occupant of the White House has forced my hand. 

Possibly you feel as I do: dismayed, appalled, disgusted, dangled precipitously at the end of an extremely frayed tether.  

I think what exasperate me most are not the outrageous assertions, blatant lies, narcissism, fiery rhetoric igniting the parched tinder of prejudice, or even that lousy looking hair. Uh-uh.

What truly frightens me is the vociferous outpouring of hatred and intolerance which he encourages, even deliberately inflames, sentiments which frustrate, sadden and embarrass me as an American.

I wish I possessed the magic formula to transform the Democratic Party into a vibrant majority in Congress, but I don't sense, let alone hear, a distinctly clear voice of leadership and sanity around which we, The Perpetually Jangled*, might whole-heartedly rally.  (Thank you President Obama for emerging from the shadows recently, providing a measure of hope. Please stick around, will you?)  

I sometimes get the impression the Democrats are rudderless, reluctantly prepared to continue up-hill battles with less than a majority in Congress until 2020 because there will be no alternative.  I believe a gain of even a few seats in both Houses will be beneficial,  but I also believe we will all be forced to face another two years of Trump-induced misery and trepidation. Please God I'm proven wrong. 

All I know is that I long for a restoration of civility, intelligence and clear reasoning which should be the guiding principles of the next POTUS, whoever she may be.  

This will not become a reality any time soon, so please cast a vote on Nov. 6th against this despicable man and all he stands for by electing educated, sensible, mature, candidates to fill those important Congressional seats.  

(That "educated, sensible, mature candidates" riff rather emphatically eliminates every Republican running, if you ask me. I just don't trust any one of them.  Not afraid to say it either).


* * * * * *
Snow Cream anyone?


On my most recent out-of-town trip, I spent a thoroughly stimulating week in Durham, NC participating in a Visiting Artist Residency program at Duke University's beautiful campus.  I conducted several Master Classes, presented a mini lecture/Q&A on "The Art of Jazz Singing", and joined the fine young members of the Duke Jazz Ensemble in a concert conducted by Professor John Brown. 

I loved every minute of the week: The vocal students were gifted, open to gentle criticism, and just plain fun to be with. Prof. Brown (who very closely resembles Oscar Peterson in the 1960's) couldn't have been more accommodating and kind.  My old friend Stephen Barefoot was my exceptionally gracious host at his beautiful home with its huge garden filled with flowers and bird feeders. All of my activities on campus were video-taped for "Sloane, The Documentary". Visit this site for updates.

Yeah. Okay.  But what about those Snow Creams?

Oh yes.  Sorry.  

A fascinating writer named Georgann Eubanks gave me a copy of her lovely book "The Month of Their Ripening" (pictured above) which describes, among other delights, foods related to their availability at peak freshness throughout the year in North Carolina. January, the first chapter, deals charmingly with the ingredients and preparations for Snow Cream, a confection hitherto unknown to me but cherished by Carolinians. I will live to taste the treat.  It's a wonderful book.


* * * * * *  
In 2017, I was introduced to an artist whose talent was so immediately evident, I became instantly devoted.  His name is Steven Cosentino, and you can see his work here. City scapes, sea shores, portraits and still life - all of his art is filled with the pulse of life, vibrant, whimsical, profound and moving.  I am pleased to introduce you to him today.



* * * * * * 

End Notes

Need I say how proud I am
to boast of my life-long
allegiance to the
Boston Red Sox
Congratulations, Gentlemen!

* * * * * * 
BIRDLAND

315 West 44th
New York
212.581.3080

November 21-24

7 PM

Carol Sloane
Mike Renzi
Jay Leonhart

 * * * * * * 



You are welcome to comment about any or all portions of this Post.  Write me at slocolmixx@gmail.com 
Or leave a comment below ...



*-Carol Sloane 
The PJ's CEO






Wednesday, August 22, 2018



August 3-5, 2018

I was treated to the exuberance
of the young and gifted who
were in residence at
The Eugene O'Neill Center
(see below for details) 



I look a little like E.T., I know,
but I wasn't the star of the show.
These singers were so much fun to hear!
Thanks once again to John McDaniel
and the entire staff.
You made me feel so young!


The Launchpad of American Theater, the O’Neill is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the stage.
Founded in 1964 by George C. White and named in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the O'Neill has launched some of the most important voices and works in American theater and has revolutionized the way new work is developed.

From its campus in Waterford, Connecticut, the O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Writers, directors, puppeteers, singers, students, and audiences alike take their first steps in exploring, revising, and understanding their work and the potential of the theater they help create. All focus remains on the writer and script: Performers work with simply rendered sets and costumes, script in hand, revealing for the first time the magic of a new play or musical, puppetry piece, or cabaret act.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Sloane (Center) & Friends
(L-R) Carol Fredette, Marilyn Maye, Sandy Stewart,
Daryl Sherman, Helen Merrill
Birdland, July 15, 2018

I was so pleased to sing for the audience at Birdland, and to see old and treasured friends at the end of the performance.

 I'm back for more November 21 to 24

With the wonderful Mike Renzi an Jay Leonhart

Come and share the music and the cranberry sauce with me!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Someone in Argentina loves me!


"Jazz Is Also A Woman ..
Nothing More Sensual"

Fabricado por Marcelo E. Albala
Bajo Licencia Alldisc Brasil


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

HOW EXCITING IS THIS!

SLOANE, THE DOCUMENTARY

Is currently in production 
with a projected 2019 release date


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In 1959 I lived in New York, and a good friend was a booking agent who often invited me to accompany him to various clubs and other venues to check on some of the artists he represented.  On this occasion, we were seated in a small studio which contained a piano and no other instruments.  I recognized legendary jazz producer John Hammond in the control room.  A young woman arrived and sat at the small Steinway.  I was very struck by her amazing facial resemblance to the majestic gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.  The young girl sang a handful of standards with formidable strength, although in her interpretations of Gershwin and Berlin, she was unable to conceal her own gospel roots. Yes, she was of course Aretha Franklin, with John Hammond in the sound booth clearly assessing where and how to steer her recording career at Columbia.  Her first recording for the label was released in 1960 with the Ray Bryant Trio.  



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

I have been dreadfully remiss, I know, but computer problems, which seemed almost insurmountable, caused me considerable stress.  For a time, even my very skilled tech man was bewildered too. But, time and tenacity prevailed, and I believe all systems are restored, along with my sanity. Remember how crazed Gloria Swanson looked as she made her way down those stairs?  That was me, ready for my close-up, tossing the PC out the window.  Probably wouldn't have caused a lot of damage since I live on the ground floor but, you know ... I was crazed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And finally tonight: 

Mr. Wonderful wanders in and out of my orbit at will, and I have accepted his "can't we be friends" request because he has made it clear there can never be an alternative.  He's a very special man, and I am reconciled to the relationship dictated by his rules and restrictions.  

It's nice to have another pal, of course ... but then again, he is a Yankee fan.

-Sloane






Thursday, June 28, 2018

SloaneView Resuscitated!

** DRUM ROLL PLEASE **



Mike Renzi and I (with Jay Leonhart on bass)
BIRDLAND
 Sunday, July 15 - 6 PM Show
212-581-3080

 *  *   *  *  *  *



The surprise is I hadn't realized how long it's been since I posted, but the last entry is dated nearly a year ago, July 17, 2017.  I haven't been ill or idle or experiencing (much) writer's block. The plain fact is that in a forced switch to a newer, presumably more efficient AOL e-mail technology, the loss of my entire mailing list was a nightmare come true. We tried everything, and even my miraculous tech assistant was unable to retrieve the valuable subscribers. After much gnashing of teeth and fists directed sky-ward, I quietly found The List last night. They don't call me "Ole Tenacious Sloane" for nothing!  I slept the sleep of the redeemed.

I completed various writing assignments during that agonizing search period, including liner notes for my good friend Daryl Sherman who has a new release on the Audiophile label, a terrific set of songs on a CD called "Lost In A Crowded Place". Needless to say, it was a pleasure to contribute to this endeavor, and I hope you will sample the work as well.  (Love the hat, Daryl).



 These are my closing remarks in the booklet:

"Daryl is the quintessential seeker, finding immense pleasure probing the oeuvre of America’s most beloved and respected composers. One would think there is little left to discover, but Daryl’s tenacity and perseverance once again find the archival equivalent of 18K gold. A quick glance at the titles will inspire our shared delight in the joy of hearing melodies and lyrics which have been hiding in the shadows. And we needn’t make any effort at all. Daryl has done all the heavy lifting for us, and quite skillfully too. All we need do is sit back and savor the fruits of her research as the generous gifts they are. Let us safely assume Daryl will continue to locate many more gems on her endless quests into the countless unopened or forgotten treasure chests of American popular song. We can but live in eager anticipation."  

* * * * * * * * * *

I was also asked to write a review of a new book about Mark Murphy.  Here is the cover and the review:


Mark Murphy once said: “You can divide your life into two parts: Before Jazz and After Jazz.  You had a life before Jazz, but once you heard Jazz, you knew your life would never be the same again.”   It is the truth.

That statement and much more concerning  Mark’s philosophy about jazz and his indelible, significant interpretations during live performances and on recordings, is revealed in the new, meticulously researched volume called “This Is Hip – The Life Of Mark Murphy” by British jazz singer and journalist Peter Jones.  (www.equinoxpub.com)
Mr. Jones is a most devoted fan, but he doesn’t shy away from discussing some of Mark’s more ferocious vocal characteristics which caused more than a few (myself included) to relinquish our fan club membership.  Evidence of Mark’s nascent, vibrant talent and his eventual aggressive vocal gymnastics are to be found in the extensive discography, meticulously referenced in this new valuable testament to one man’s vocal vision. 

I feel certain I must have heard Mark’s 1964 album called “Mark Time” released on the British label Fontana.  I know I saw him on late-night television shows of that period, probably those hosted by Steve Allen, a sand lot pianist at best, with a fervent appreciation for jazz, who was especially fond of good pop singers.  He happily nurtured many strong voices of the period such as Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, so I’m sure he would very much have enjoyed presenting the young, promising jazz singer Mark Murphy as a guest on more than one occasion. 
I remember being impressed with Mark’s richly textured voice - a jazz voice, a swinging voice, an intelligent voice - which mesmerized me.  And I remained faithful until …

Until, over the years, Mark’s inventions and explorations took on qualities similar to the screech of an owl in extreme distress.  However, I remained fascinated by his audacious improvisational skills more often than not, even though I began to feel profoundly uncomfortable and bewildered.    My respect for Mark’s strenuous determination to reshape firmly established melodies suggested vocal anarchy to me, disconcerting and as dangerous as attempting a full-scale, no-safety-net-in-sight assault on El Capitan.  More plainly stated, my aversion to scat singing intensified, unless ...

Unless, of course, it took the form of the delightful high-wire arabesques performed by Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan, both of whom transformed themselves into saxophones or trumpets when scat singing, and always with consistent, fastidious grace and musicianship.  Ella’s singing in particular expressed the joyous elements of jazz improvisation.   Her ability to sing “in the pocket” is to me the essence of vocal swing which, by the way, is also the defining component of jazz singing:  One whose "placement" is on the beat, able to improvise the lyric with a musician's fluency within a written measure*.   But, I digress.  
Mark Murphy’s more adventurous work inspired me to examine the works of  musicians whose perspectives were also free-wheeling, controversial and thought-provoking, including Archie Shepp, early Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, giant sax players who established new concepts based on the lyrical platforms solidly erected by Johnny Hodges, Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins.   

Without Mark Murphy, though it may seem strange to say, I’d have quickly turned a skeptical eye on Salvador Dali or the fantastical works of  Hieronymous Bosh.   However, I always admired Mark for his daring, the feeling that he found himself in an impenetrable jungle through which he could confidently forge a new path.  Mark was an artist willing to challenge himself at every turn, whether or not we were able to accept that the roller-coaster ride he asked us to share would be fun!  It was not in his nature to compromise.
I very much identify with these words he once spoke: “… the gold is when you reach maturity … you begin to sing your life.  You’re not just performing.  You’re putting your life into your songs.”   I believe Mark’s life was brimming with vivid color, genuine compassion, delicious humor and gentle spirituality.
 
“This Is Hip – The Life Of Mark Murphy” tells us that Mark Murphy clearly resonated with Mr. Jones from the start, and his beautifully researched book expresses his perpetual devotion to and fascination with the man in all his uniqueness.  He objectively addresses the portion of Mark’s life which exemplified his inquisitive nature and daring-do approach.  Many of us didn’t get it some of the time, but Peter Jones did.  It’s a lovely book, affectionately dedicated to an authentic, much admired jazz innovator.
-Carol Sloane
* Exquisite examples of singers with perfect "placement" are the late Maxine Sullivan, and the marvelous Catherine Russell, very active today and delightfully swinging always.
     * * * * * * * * *  
My book recommendation for July:
"The Complete Patrick Melrose Novels"
by Edward St. Aubyn
* * * * * * *
A singer of enormous ability passed away
June 17th following
a brief performance on Cape Cod
Beloved and admired by New England jazz fans and beyond,
SloaneView marks with sadness the loss of
Rebecca Parris.
R.I.P.
 * * * * * * * * *
Thanks for reading. If you wish to update your email address, or just want to be left alone, please give me the pertinent information at Comments.
-Sloane







Monday, July 17, 2017

Dave, Bill and Carol, Sybil and Adam and the other Dave ...


And now for the really exciting news!




Let me be among the first to tell you of the publication of Dave Frisberg's memoir "My Dear Departed Past", Hardcover, Backbeat Books, at Amazon, wherever books are sold and also https://www.davefrishberg.net/.  The great man generously explores, explains and even reveals the causes for revising the texts whenever he felt it necessary to do so.  He cites many of his most endearing lyrics, including "Peel Me A Grape", "Van Lingle Mongo" and "The Sports Page", just to name three.  He also tells us how and why he wrote them, the kind of information we've all been longing to know.

A stroke in 2014 knocked the wind out of his sails, more from the shock and surprise of it than its level of intensity. According to his wife, April Magnusson, the stroke occurred during the night.  He had been exercising  at the gym on a daily basis, and had been there the previous day.

The good news is that although there is some loss of memory, it is "spotty", but there is much he remembers. April says: "He cooks oatmeal for us every morning, and retains every bit of his keen sense of humor.  He does not do much emailing, so it is best to email me at aprilmag@aracnet.com if anyone wants to send him a message."

The book is often revelatory, informative and filled with people and places that will evoke warm memories for many who read the book. "My Dear Departed Past" is an essential addition to your jazz library.

*************

P.S.  Once Dave and I stood on an Amtrak platform at Back Bay Station in Boston, waiting for his Acela train to New York.  He turned to me and said: "Carol. Your coat is hip".  This from the hippest man on the planet.  I was thrilled.  The coat was old as well as cool, and still hangs in the hall closet, proudly bearing the coveted Frishberg Seal Of Approval.

P.P.S  With an aching back to prove I've been bending down, climbing up and generally poking through boxes of photographs in my so far futile attempt to locate a cherished photograph Dave sent a long time ago, I am forced to describe it for you instead of actually posting it.

It shows Dave seated at the piano, fingers on the keys, his first-born son in his lap.  The child is looking directly at the camera with a slight, somewhat bemused smile.  

Dave's caption:  "Teaching Harry the changes to "Lush Life".  

No matter when I find it (and I will), I will show it to all of you.

Buy the book. 
Now!

************
Oh! Canada ...

In the latter part of June, I experienced visceral elation inspired by the people and places I visited, viz: On June 23rd, I boarded a Porter Airlines flight from Boston to Toronto to acclimate myself in preparation for my engagement the following night singing with the pristine, eloquent piano accompaniment of the brilliant Bill Charlap.  I know this duet setting intimately because Bill and I have embraced this format several times in the recent past.  See our our Jazz Standard gig here.

However, on the night of June 23, I sat in the audience at The Jazz Bistro, a comfortable, beloved venue (one of the best of its kind in all the world), listening to Bill and his equally amazing wife Renee Rosnes display their combined prodigious skills.  Ah, jazz! Ah, jazz at its most delicious. Jazz as pure, dazzling art. Jazz in all its glorious, concentrated form.  Jazz with its complexity and generosity of spirit.  As a fan, my presence was rewarded a hundred fold.

Here's a picture of Renee and Bill during a typical duo presentation.  Bill and I share a running joke that they should hire a small, quick-footed child to sit under their feet, prepared to run back and forth under these giant instruments to alert the other of an approaching change of tempo or key modulation.


Zankel Hall
Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Springs, NY
Renee Rosnes
Bill Charlap
Seated at two 9' Model D Steinways 


Providing The Jazz Bistro audience with a feast, Bill and Renee played, with delicate precision and exuberant improvisation, some compositions by these luminaries:  Frank Loesser, Bill Evans, Joe Henderson, Jule Styne, Burt Bacharach, Arthur Schwartz, J. J. Johnson, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Gerry Mulligan, Cole Porter, Charlie Parker, George Gershwin, Dick Hyman, Duke Ellington, Lyle Mays, Antonio Carlos Jobin and Thelonious Monk. A truly ambitious program, filled with earthly delights.

I was seated at the corner of the bar, and my perch also gave me the opportunity to witness another artist at work, namely the Head Bartender David Belsey. This man possesses a graceful and totally silent technique.  

You have probably been subject to one or more of those dreadful incidents when the introspective mood has been shattered by the sound of ice cubes falling from a metal bucket into a steel-lined bin, dropped from a height of six feet by a numb-skull hired to mix drinks and the music be hanged.  "Oh? There's a performance going on?  Who knew?"  

My friend Belsey would have none of it, thank you very much.  He carefully selects the proper glass, holds the metal shovel-like instrument above the open ice chest, opens and closes doors silently, and suspends all motion during those moments when the audience is fully involved with the artist's endeavor. Often, he just stands there, waiting for just the right second to resume his work. It's another show just to watch him perform his delicate choreography with such style.

The Jazz Bistro also employs another superb expert who manages the sound system.  He's Adam Cree, a meticulous and devoted audio technician who sees that the artist looks and sounds his or her very best. And he will stay at the task until and only when he and the artist sign off.  Awards of some sort should be created for Adam and David.  Bravo gentlemen.  You are The Best.

Mr. Cree and Mr. Belsey have been instructed to perform their assigned tasks the way they do because The Boss long ago established this policy, building loyal audiences who come to The Jazz Bistro to enjoy the music in an environment free of extraneous distractions.  At The Jazz Bistro, you will not ever be seated beside a table for twelve, celebrating Uncle Saul's 88th birthday complete with party hats and lusty choruses of Happy Birthday.  Thanks to Sybil Walker (she's The Boss, otherwise known as the heart and soul of the club), an evening at TJB is meant to enrich and nourish your jazz soul, and it succeeds every time. Congratulations and thank you Sybil for your tenacious devotion to jazz.  Another Award, if you please.  Oh yes: the food's great too.  

I often wish I lived in Toronto.  S-i-g-h ...  

* * * * * * * * * *