Chicago – 2014


I confess I still don’t know what “toddlin’ town” means. People have been singing that song for years, including Frank Sinatra.

100 miles from Milwaukee – I almost think of us as suburbs of each other. Don’t tell Chicagoans I said that. Truth is I really didn’t get to enjoy Chicago until my first record at 35 years of age. I was “getting ready”, so that when I did go I was totin’ my first record, We Got By, and had logged 12 to 14 years standing on stage in front of audiences being a jazz singer in a trio. If I had gone earlier I’d have been an observer of everything that Chicago has…distractions and all. Chicago is, was, and will always be an amazing city. Attractions and distractions to blow your mind. But it does all of this with a lot less flurrying and lose molecules of undirected activity. I love that city more and more each time I go. So it’s been wonderful to have a serious fan base there since We Got By.

This time we redid something quite unusual that we did for the first time 12 years ago with a young jazz lover entrepreneur, Dedry Jones, who developed the idea of ten times a year bringing in some notable musicians to hang out with him and a small audience of people. There’s maybe 400 people in some special setting where they could talk to and rub elbows with the special guest. He always makes time to sit down at a table facing the audience and ask interesting questions about that artist and their career. I wish he could sub divide himself to other franchises in the US.

This time Joe Turano and I did a duet of two songs from the new George Duke Tribute CD (“My Old Friend” and “Brazilian Love Affair”) and “We’re in this Love Together”. And this along with a 90 minute Q/A with the audience and Dedry made for a really fun and unusual event. I can imagine a form of this just being a new and very attractive venue for everybody. No question, this turns out to be great promo for the artist and very valuable for that reason alone. This is a great promo tool, especially in this day where so many artists (even established ones) are losing contact with their audiences because they’re not heard on the radio.

There were people who stood up and asked questions and talked about We Got By and other songs from early album projects. It was so obvious that this format was immensely satisfying. It was like “shaking hands and kissing babies”…really rare and unusual. This makes for a great CD signing opportunity where people line up and meet each other and talk about everything you can imagine, including early listening experiences with Al Jarreau and After All at their wedding.

Thanks you, Dedry. Let’s do it again!

See you in Iowa City…my alma mater.



Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Leave us a comment

Comments are closed.