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Jillian loves live music. We mentioned this a while ago when speaking of some time one night in New York.
She reminded me, the other day, of another musical interlude in her life.
This time it was an evening with a female jazz stylist.
“What does 'Jazz Stylist' mean,” I asked, “before we go any further?”
She replied with a HUGE eye-roll. (Sometimes you just should stay ignorant with Jillian. It is a lot easier.) “Have you heard of Billie Holiday? Well she was a Jazz Stylist. It is someone who has their own typical way of singing or playing music. Really. Your lack of knowledge of everyday things astounds me.”
My turn for the eye-roll.
“The lady of which I am speaking,” she grammaticised, “is a wonderful sultry, warm-voiced vocalist offering a repertoire of popular jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, including selections from swing and groove to bossa nova and blues.”
“Oh!” I say. Suitably chastened. Jillian sounded a bit like 'Dr Google' and perhaps some of these observations are actual quotes from websites she has visited. I don't know, but this singer woman sounded interesting.
I didn't find out who our musical paragon was, nor where Jillian lived when she listened to this magnificent music. I remained stuck in the details.
Then Jillian veered away from the audio to the visual. We went from the point of it all 'The Music' to what it looked like. Yeah. Beats me too.
I'll stay with Jillian in real time and not try to figure anything out. Sound fair?
The venue was upstairs in a loft-like structure. There was a bar at the back and a stage at the front. One of those pretend stages that is all of 6 inches higher than the actual floor.
The room was small. Probably only seated about 50 guests at small round tables. The walls were distressed exposed brick, and the vaulted ceilings (black timber beams and white plaster) were covered in framed black and white photos of musical and movie greats. Mostly from before her time she noted drily. Oh, she did say the sound quality was absolutely fabulous so that was something.
It was a cute, intimate, friendly space – her words. She sat at a table with a youngish couple who even after only 10 years of marriage were starting to look a bit alike. I mean their glasses were almost identical just to start. Catty, I thought.
A Lady Gone Bad
You've heard the line from the Billy Joel song ' … makin' love to his tonic and gin'? Think microphone and you have an idea. A lady gone bad if ever there was one. In the best possible way, of course.
Blond hair piled up, floor-length black gown, diamante studded belt, and matching sparkly 3 inch high heeled open toed Manolo Blahnik sandles finished the look. And it was a 'look' just like from the Roxette song of 1989.
“The pianist who seemed to be an extension of the piano stool flowing over onto the keyboard, was wearing what looked to me,” she said, “like a Chairman Mao outfit. Head to toe In shades of basalt grey.
It turned out he had spent the last few years in Shanghai so not surprising really.
His playing was technically brilliant, emotionally ebullient, and mesmerising.
The guitarist played like a man demented. Never missing a note that Jillian reckons anyway,and not even a sign of a fuzz but it was not just finger-pickin good it was phenomenal. And fast. Oh boy.
His playing was only overshadowed by his blue, stone-washed stove-pipe jeans and snake skin boots. An apparition to be sure.
The double bass player had his bows in a quiver like scabbard on his bodaciously sized instrument and wore a camo shirt. Very interesting.
The drummer, she figured, was not of this world. He had a smallish kit, but his sound was bigger than Texas. She looked at me for a reaction when she said this. I am GLAD to say I disappointed her. My mind was on a much higher plain
“How anyone can still breathe after what he did,” Jillian said, “I just don't know.”
“What was he wearing?” I asked.
“Oh, I couldn’t tell. He was in a bit of a dark patch”, she said.
I was going to comment, but, wisely I thought, kept my mouth shut.
Towards the end of the evening, she remembered, they were joined by a saxophonist and a different pianist who played boogie woogie and swing.
“It was awesome.” she cooed.
Gads. I've NEVER heard Jillian coo before. It is a very different thing.
The evening finished with an extremely nice version of Dave Brubeck's 'Just take 5'.
Apparently some whiskey was consumed as well.
“A good night?” I asked unnecessarily. #ourjillian