Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Doorman's Diary 4.20.12

It took several songs before her quirky personality came through. What makes the show enjoyable is the dramatic contrast of her powerful voice set against her goofball demeanor. It's just her and an old school piano player. Stripped down to the fundamentals: voice and rhythm. It's the piano lounge, except for her Aretha-size voice. The jazz club is accustomed to bigger sound or maybe The Doorman is. Her voice can fill the club, but there's frequently the lingering "if only." Every time this duet has played, I yearn for a stand up bass or a restrained tenor to make the scene complete. On many of their songs it feels like the family photo with a key relative missing. The jazz gods smiled on us and a tenor appeared in the audience. During the break the deal was sealed and the tenor sat in on several songs. The tenor is accustomed to full-throttle, chain- him-to-the-bandstand squeals and vein-popping vibratos. Tonight, he showed restraint and judiciously filled the holes that both he and I saw that were there. He played a couple of songs and smartly underplayed to let the singer's voice dominate. It was wonderful. The tenor was retreating to return to his seat when the piano player laid down a heavy beat with his synthesizer and the sax was called back for their version of Down Home Blues. The pinnacle of the night was when the singer, her husband who also is a terrific singer, the piano man, and the sax belted out a version of Fever--the Peggy Lee song. A cozy couple sitting at the bar caught the fever and were into full-on plecostomus-mouth kissing (anyone who has owned a fresh-water aquarium knows plecostomus as the o-mouth algae-eaters that spend their lives attached to the glass with their tongue-thingies rasping and sucking--they are actually kind of gross to watch up close). So, the night peaked with “You give me fever when you kiss me - fever when you hold me tight” and the couple’s sound of slurping filling the spaces between the notes. 

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