1. Fred Hersch's "Leaves of Grass" song cycle is a masterpiece: I listened to the CD fifteen years ago. saw it life online from Jazz At Lincoln Center, & Friday night we saw it live at Duke's Baldwin Auditorium. Lead vocalist Kurt Elling sang & spoke Walt Whitman's word abetted by Kate McGarry, while pianist Hersch played & led a sextet through instrumental interludes & back-up music that perfectly fit the singing & speaking. This performance will stay with me as long as I am sentient.
2. We thought we were in a New York cabaret--at Raleigh's Empress Room Thursday night. We walked in expecting just to listen to pianist Jonathan Markow play standards with loving care. We left extraordinarily happy to have heard vocalist Amy Hancock's devotion to & skill at intelligent lyrics, often with tunes completely new to us. We need more such music.
This Week: I'll complete this once some venues/performers put out May calendars.