Sunday, May 22, 2011

Final Night of 2011 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival

Last night I (Helen) was joined by Diva Lakeisha at the show. We were both so happy to be at a performance where women and jazz were emphasized!

Our first performer was Corky Hale with a trio of valiant musicians. Corky is like your favorite great-aunt who tells too many stories and then sits down at the piano to belt out a few songs, only she also played harp! Looking at her website, I see that her stock-in-trade is "An Evening with Corky Hale;" it seems like we saw a greatly abbreviated version of that last night. Tell a few stories, play a little, tell some more stories, play some more.

Here's a video of Corky playing the harp with Tony Bennett on the Tonight Show.

The next performers were pianist Peggy Stern and "Sweet" Sue Terry on the clarinet and sax. Both performers are virtuosos and it was a very pleasant performance! Sue Terry admitted that performing as the duo was both very exposed (that you are hearing only them - missteps would be more obvious, I guess) and very liberating, because they could experiment and have more opportunities to go a different way, because there is only one other person who could adjust. I appreciated it!

The final performance was Five Play, a quartet made up of members of the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, who we heard at last year's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. Led by Sherrie Maricle, one of the top women drummers of all time, they played a few numbers, and then were joined by Marlena Shaw. Marlena immediately took over the stage, actually telling Sherrie after the first number that there could only be one leader, and so they better pay attention to her! Wow. I love anything that Sherrie Maricle does, so I was a little sad for her!

I have to say looking back at the entire three night experience that the favorite night was definitely Friday. It made me wonder how performers for this festival are selected. Is there a committee? Do they have nominations? What is the over-arching goal, besides presenting women in jazz?

Please, be on the lookout for the sale of next year's tickets! Again, I will be buying them as soon as they are available!!!


Lakeisha said...

Helen, you are being kind to the first act. Ever so diplomatic. It was more like the aunt who rambles on and on and cracks herself up. Everyone else is laughing to but not "with" her if you know what I mean. I'd say an accurate summary of her performance was when she turned the open bottle of water on it side to lay it on top of the piano and spilled water all over the keys and inside the piano.

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