On Friday the 13th Boo and I had the good fortune to be in the audience at Dillard's Lawless Chapel for a really great Jazz show as presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. The Lawless Chapel with its near perfect acoustics is a great venue for Jazz and whoever did the sound used it to full advantage. Every nuance of every note from these very skillful vocalist was available to every ear in the room.
Ms. Bazzle is always impressive and she lights up on stage. She literally uses her voice as a musical instrument and takes what we call “scatting” to another level, sometimes creating instrumental solos with her vocal cords, joining in the listening/playing groove of the ensemble. She is capable of bringing any classic Jazz standard to life in ways that both respect the original renditions but also display her unique sense of a song. She creates every time she comes to the microphone and I don't know if I have ever heard her sing any thing exactly the same way twice.
Betty Shirley followed Bazzle and while they may share lots of repetoire Ms. Shirley's delivery is more edgy, even perhaps more powerful in her delivery, but not at the expense of the delicate phrases which she delivers with complete detail. Betty wrings as much meaning and expression from each note as any singer I've ever heard.
What more can I write about Stephanie Jordan. Her vocalizations are crystal clear, powerful and expressive. While always making a song her own, Stephanie's performance contains the phrasing of Lena Horn, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald with a little Etta James on the side, but always clearly and distinctly Stephanie Jordan.
The final and obviously featured performer was Rene Marie, a self styled Jazz vocalist and composer out of Virginia. Her performance was of all original work and she was entertaining and engaging, her music more cerebral and thought provoking, and very well received by the audience that remained. She was engaging, funny and had a message in her music. I enjoyed her show and probably would have enjoyed it more were it not after the intense vocalizations that preceded her taking the stage.
What a great gift to the community by the Jazz and Heritage Foundation. I'm looking forward to the next one.