Saturday, December 1, 2012
The Doorman's Diary 11.30.12
No jazz tonight. A trad R&B band is pleasing the full house. Those old enough to remember the songs being played from their youth gyrate next to kids who wish their music could be this good. The band during this first set is really not that good, but the crowd is forgiving. I don't doubt that the musicians and three singers aren't all great, but it's too much like a high school football game where every player is doing their part but forgets they're a part of a team. Their version of Mustang Sally is a cylinder short of a V-8 Shelby engine. Toss in the band leader's repeated requests for affirmation--"You-all having fun yet?"--and it is becoming challenging to be sober. Fortunately, the second set is much better. Music and vocals are harmonizing. Any missed notes aren't as apparent as the first set. It's actually a credit to all on stage that they have tightened things up and are so in sync after it was clear that they hadn't played as a group before. What's not to like about the Theme from Shaft, Brick House, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, when delivered with verve and passion. The house is silenced when a timid woman steps on stage and up to the mike. She mumbles something softly and the audience courteously waits. I’m thinking (as no doubt everyone else).... Please God, don't let this be a train wreck. She opens her mouth and sings a Billie Holliday song in the same voice as Billie Holliday. It was exquisite and what it had to do with the rest of the music no one knows or really cares. From somewhere in the cosmos, Billie is smiling and maybe even guiding this poor woman as she sings this random song.