Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Little Humor

The church I play at every Sunday morning, like many churches (I guess), likes to call everything they do some kind of "ministry". So, there's the prayer ministry, the pet ministry, the children's education ministry, etc. My cohort Sarah dubbed coffee time between services the "caffeine ministry" and I have a codename for the pet ministry which for reasons of propriety I will not share here. Trust me, its funny.

So today I decided that I should call myself the "low note ministry". When I mentioned it to Sarah she said, "Oh, you're a fundamentalist." Hope you musical punsters appreciate that one. I then briefly recounted the story of playing in a club in the early 80's when author Alex Haley came in. When I saw him I stated playing just roots.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tony Andriacchi at the Skokie Theatre

I am happy to have been on stage with the wonderful pianist Jeremy Kahn in support of my old friend and colleague Tony Andriacchi. Here's what the mercurial Howard Reich had to say about the concert this past Saturday in today's Chicago Tribune:

In a way, Saturday night marked Andriacchi's second comeback.

A couple of years ago, the formidable Chicago singer returned to the stage after more than a decade-and-a-half away.

His career was just starting to gain new momentum when, earlier this year, he was sidelined by vocal-cord problems requiring surgery.

But some artists can't be stopped, as Andriacchi proved before a sold-out house at the refurbished Skokie Theatre. Performing for the first time since his treatment, Andriacchi sounded in fine voice and, more important, offered one illuminating, unconventional song interpretation after another.

He opened his marathon concert, which stretched more than 2 1/2 hours, with a wholly original version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark." By elongating its melody lines and making the most of every syllable, Andriacchi revealed the inner workings of the tune. Yet even at this dreamy, unhurried tempo, the piece never lost rhythmic momentum.Though practically every singer in the pop-jazz tradition owes some debt to icons such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, Andriacchi has pulled further away from their influence than most. He proved it when he dug into their repertory, singing "The Best Is Yet to Come" with a sly understatement that ran counter to Sinatra's euphoric recordings of this tune; and by dispatching "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" even more slowly and introspectively than Bennett.