Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lazy Days of Summer

Nicky and I spent the first week of June in Santa Fe, New Mexico...a state I had only driven through in the past. This was a planned week by my sister for all of us sibs and spouses. What a place Santa Fe! We loved it...and Taos...and the mountains...and the dry desert air. The only musical highlight (besides not seeing Ottmar Liebert who was playing in the local performance theater that week) was this wonderful classical guitarist who played in the square in downtown Santa Fe. She's Romanian and played with passion and skill. I spoke with her and she said she usually performs with her husband but he was out that day. I could have sat there all day.

June 19-20 brought the inaugural Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in downtown East Lansing. Nicky and I were fortunate enough to see 2 acts...the first of which was the KNOCKOUT Esperanza Spalding on Friday and Linda Abar and the Neil Gordon Trio on Saturday. This Esperanza Spaulding was AMAZING! What a talented, confident, diverse performer. She played bass (double, electric...I believe she could play any stringed instrument) like she was born with it, sang beautifully and had a stage presence that commanded your attention. This was a thoroughly satisfying hour. Her band was tight and were the perfect accompaniment to her solos and total expertise. What a delight this was. Thank you Ms. Spaulding.

Saturday brought Linda Abar out with the group she has played most regularly with recently, the Neil Gordon Trio. They all know what to do to put on a smooth show. Linda was in particularly fine voice this day and Neil was particularly swift on his jazz solo runs. If you are in East Lansing in the summer, look for Linda and the NGT...they perform more often then. We enjoyed the band's company afterwards for dinner at Beggar's Banquet who, quite cleverly, put quite a bit of outside seating in the parking lot so diners could listen to the festival.

The next live musical event I enjoyed was Matt Bliton playing at the Lansing City Market at noon on July 24. He was accompanied on a couple tunes by our good friend, Linda Abar (they do a great rendition of Paul Simon's, "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes" and the traditional, "Wayfaring Stranger"). This show was simulcast on Lansing Community College's radio station, WLNZ 89.7FM. Matt's originals ring true and were well-received by the noon-time audience.

That's it for June and July. Since August includes the Great Lakes Folk Festival we'll save that entry for next time. Thanks for reading....what have you seen?