It’s been a pretty busy September and October. Ivone and I have gone a little crazy where live music is concerned. We’ve seen a lot of it. Which is great. It helps that both of us are likely to say Yes to the other’s concert suggestions.
For example, Vanessa Da Mata. I had not heard of her, but she is very popular in her native Brazil and Ivone is a fan. Her music kind of wanders between samba, reggae and pop. Vanessa blew me away with her enormous stage presence, big frizzy hair, powerful voice, graceful dancing. Four unruly young men sat next to us, jumping up every three seconds and singing along to every song
Then there was Jesse Cook, another of Ivone’s favorites. Ivone’s friend Lucy and her husband joined us for this show in Lexington. Cook is a Canadian guitarist/singer who was born in Paris and was influenced by the music of many countries. One recent project involved recording an entire album in Columbia. He might be best known for this tune:
Three Dog Night was a hit machine and a favorite of mine since the early 70’s. Danny Hutton keeps the band going at the ripe age of 75 and seems to be having fun. “Liar” is one tune with a backstory. All the band members had to vote on each song to be recorded and the majority ruled – among all seven, not just the three singers. The guitarist, who still stands to Danny’s left after 49 years, voted No on most tunes. But he liked “Liar.” Why? Because it had a guitar solo.
Richard Dowling from Manhattan played 100 year-old Scott Joplin tunes for over an hour at a local auditorium. Every rag, march, waltz or cakewalk had a story behind it. What’s a cakewalk? “Like Dancing with the Stars without the stars.” The judges would sit behind an enormous sheet cake, and after the contest was over, the winners would ‘take the cake’. Joplin, best known for “Maple Leaf Rag”, also composed some slower pieces that are quite beautiful.
The last concert we attended, along with three friends, was the Temptations. Yes, the five man group from the 60’s and 70’s. They are down to one original singer, but the replacements did their legacy proud. “My Girl”, “Just My Imagination”, “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” They had us on our feet several times, and some of us (me) tried to copy their awesome dance moves.
A headline in yesterday’s paper sums up my feelings about music, especially when it’s live: “Music a salve for a negative world.”
Couldn’t agree more.