Photo: Sabine Heubusch
(Bruce Barth, EL, Evan Gregor, Joel Frahm, Jordan Perlson)
I had decided to cab it to the gig. BAD BAD choice. It was Wednesday early evening at 7:15pm. Fifth Avenue...forgetaboutit. So I legged it to Kitano, which was, admittedly, not horrifyingly far, but still, I was wearing heels and dragging my suitcase with all my sound equipment, because, quite frankly, I have gotten VERY VERY picky about my sound lately and tend to lug around supplemental equipment all over town. Got a nice, punchy and very small Mackie monitor, some reverb and a wee compressor, all of which I use as needed.
In the end, just as my pinkie toes were already threatening to secede from my feet, I finally huffed into the elevator that carried my sweaty self up to the Jazz lounge. And everybody was already there! And I mean EVERYBODY! The audience, the band...mymymy.
So I set up my signal chain (rush rush because it was getting late), tooted into the mic to make sure it was working, and decided that I was ready. After kissing half the audience and commiserating with fellow allergy sufferer Joel Frahm about the amount of medication we each had already taken that day, we dove into the gig. Naturally, there were some sound issues. But after that minor detail was remedied (note to self: make sure you are loud enough, WHILE the drums are playing! Rookie mistake, honestly, EL!), we sang, played, emoted and channeled for each other and the people in the room. I sang a song I had written for my mom, during which I almost lost my cool, because it is in fact an incredibly sad song, albeit in Spanish and thus at least once removed; and we had the usual hick-ups and triumphs associated with the territory of live performance, that I will not elaborate on here.
I will however say that one of the highlights of the night for me as a performer was my duet with Bruce Barth on the marvelous Cy Coleman tune "With Every Breath I Take". I think we both lost ourselves in that song, broke each other's hearts and gave in to absolute, searing devastation - but, you know, in a good way.
I am still smiling thinking about that gig. Truly, I am incredibly privileged to work with fellow musicians who are totally down with raising each other's game. And when that happens, when we elevate each other, the magic flows, and the world is whole for a few, fleeting moments.
Yesterday we had the long planned rehearsal for my show at Kitano here in New York this Wednesday. The pianist was running late due to the very scary word "Flood" in his text informing me of his tardiness. The drummer rode his bicycle from Bed Sty to midtown Manhattan and arrived drenched - as if he had just witnessed said flood. Hmmm...But he had a bag of dried apricots in tow, so the world was a beautiful place again. I ended up playing piano and singing at the beginning of the rehearsal - oh well...but eventually everybody was present and working intensely for 2.5 hours to make it through as much music.
I am very very much looking forward to this show, it will be incredibly fun and musically exciting, can't wait.
Come out and see us!
Joel Frahm, saxophone
Bruce Barth, piano
Evan Gregor, bass
Jordan Perlson, drums
Wednesday, May 11th, sets at 8pm and 10pm
66 PARK AVENUE AT EAST 38TH STREET
New York City
For reservations: 212-885-7119