Monday, June 4, 2007

Scullers Weekend

Boston was a very busy place this past weekend: Numerous college reunions, commencements, high school proms, a Yankees-Red Sox three-game series at Fenway Park and my own Friday and Saturday engagements at Scullers Jazz Club. The quartet led by Norman Simmons consistently played Happy Jazz***, the audiences were attentive and generous, and I was pleased to sign copies of "Dearest Duke" after my shows. As for the baseball contests, they were intense for players and fans. The series split, with the Yankees taking two from the Red Sox: On Friday, 9-5, Saturday Red Sox prevailed 11-6, and last night's significantly stressful go-round ended in a narrow 6-5 victory for the Yankees. I am feeling justifiably spent.

***When the quartet is having fun, when we're all loose and enjoying our combined communication, it can only be described as Happy Jazz. No angst, no ego trips, no grumbling. I like to think it's the sort of ambience Ella Fitzgerald created every time she appeared, rewarded for her artistry by demands for more. Hers was A Perfect Voice! We loved her, smiled with her and generally had a good time sharing the music, toes tapping, bodies moving rhythmically just as they would to the pulsating drive of a Count Basie concert or the playfulness and swing of a Louis Armstrong performance. In a very real sense, this same sort of buoyancy occured at Scullers on Friday and Saturday night. I like to keep it light, mingled with one or more ballads containing classic lyrics. At least, that's my method.

I would be extraordinarily remiss if I failed to mention that Rebecca Parris, one of this country's finest jazz singers, graciously agreed to join me for a bit of fun on Friday night. I could never compete with Becca in the scat singing department, but she very tactfully chose not to issue the challenge. Also on Friday night, Ray Santisi, one of Boston's most respected jazz pianists and Berklee College of Music professor, joined me for a tune. Fun night.

AND THE ENVELOPE PLEASE! The First Ever Knucklehead Award goes to the unknown gentleman who guided his young sons (nephews?), approximate ages 6, 4 and 2-1/2, through the lobby of my hotel, cheerfully suggesting: "Okay guys! Let's go play on the escalator!" Familial love personified. Maybe he's the person who originated the idea of sending obstreperous children out to play in traffic. The boys completed two circuits on the moving stairs and were about to embark on the third go when my husband, grandfather of five equally young boys, made his move. Placing his hand firmly on the man's shoulder, he said quietly: "This is NOT a good idea", pointing out the very obvious dangers for the kids, information this Knucklehead seemed surprised to learn.

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