Tag Archives: Houston Person

Five Excellent Ingredients.

You know, they say with five excellent ingredients, you can create a masterpiece. I can attest to this.

I was blessed to go to a show this weekend. It was billed as ROBERTA GAMBARINI/HOUSTON PERSON/ERIC GUNNISON/CHUCK BERGHOFER/LEWIS NASH

My friends had seen Roberta Gamarini recently and have been following Eric Gunnison at venues in Denver for years, so when they invited me to the supper club of Dazzle to see the performance, I easily agreed to go.

I won’t claim to know much about Jazz and had never seen or heard these musicians before, but I can tell you my experience.

The show started with Roberta singing a solo a cappella. She showed her brilliant voice and range and soulful delivery and if music was a meal, this would have been a bite to satisfy and make you think you didn’t need any other ingredients.

This musical performance by all masters of their trade, did make me feel like I was having a meal for the soul.

The sax player was an older gentleman and when he played the saxophone, I could nearly swear that his notes had the words to them just as if he was singing alongside Roberta. I chuckled to myself when he first came upon the stage as his saxophone looked like it hadn’t been polished in years. I guess I’m so use to bright shiny instruments, that it caught my eye that it lacked the luster and shine of the normally seen on polished brass. But when I heard him play, it was as if he had allowed a bit of every note that had ever been produced in it to cling to part of it’s surface so that every following note had just a little more resonance from having come after previously played notes. As I sat there, it really did remind me of how they say that a good smoker/grill gets better the more it is used and that leaving some of the residue helps the next batch gain even more flavor.

The piano player used the piano like it was the backup singer who could have been the main star, but was content to play notes that sang along, and harmonizing beutifully with the main voice. His playing also created visions (at least for me) of a dancer, tapping and twirling off to the side while the singer sang.

The drummer, having those smaller and higher pitched drums than the rock sets, set the beat and accents to the tunes much as the piano player did. He would sometime lay down the beat with what felt like a caress of his drums and symbols and sometimes belting out his notes and showing the voice of his set had just as much range as anyone on the stage. Like the piano, his drumming would also allow me to think of him as another backup singer and dancer as his notes twirled and tapped on the opposite side of the stage.

And then there was the bassist – a gentleman who use to play with Frank Sinatra. Truth be told, they have all played with the greats and are greats on their own, but his years with Frank are the easiest for me to recall and relay. He knew how to let the star shine, but give them everything as a base to sing upon that brings it all together like a fine dish. I did keep coming back to the analogy of food when I listened to them all – together and individually. It wasn’t until the bassist had his first solo routine within a song, that it dawned on me, that in my food analogy, he was the amazing sauce that I smelled cooking throughout and didn’t overpower any bite, but brought it together so wonderfully.

Roberta Gambarini was not just the main attraction and was not just this singer whose amazing voice carried on the waves and flow of the notes the others layed down in accompaniment to her. She would lavish her clear full octave range singing upon us, and then suddenly, she would transform into another instrument on the stage. She would scat sing notes alongside all the other instruments that made for a fifth instrument that could again solo on its own.

It seems that Roberta travels and sings all over the world and picks up good musicians or already established jazz bands to accompany her wherever she goes, so this was one of those five-set shows, that came together with five incredible people that we were lucky enough to see on the fourth of the shows. This meant that they were five superb ingredients that in the food sense would each had been tasty on their own, but given the time to stew in the shows before us, we were served the masterpiece of a dish that had the time to cook and simmer and bubble until what we were served was perfect.

Such a good time and yes, all of those individuals will be playing individually or with different people in the coming days and weeks, but I feel so thankful to have gotten to enjoy them all together and will savor it.

Yes, we were only maybe 12 feet from the stage, so when I say it was an intimate concert experience, I mean it.

Thank you my pals for including me.

Happy Easter everyone. So much to be thankful for.

Love Sally