It’s the middle of November, and the days are getting shorter. Darkness comes before dinner, and the sky is a steel-gray when my alarm clock goes off. Like many other people, I feel this darkness keenly, although I manage to get through it every year.
But two friends of ours — friends of the music, deep masters of its power to exalt without ever speaking in capital letters — offer us the cure for any darkness. The music they make is bright, even at slow tempos; it illuminates the spirit long after they have left the stage.
Rebecca Kilgore and John Sheridan light the way as they always do . . . here on a quiet Sunday morning at Jazz at Chautauqua near the end of September 2012.
Even though this set began at around 10 AM, Becky and John embarked on the saucy, sly THE FIVE O’CLOCK WHISTLE — is it a tale of increased wartime productivity or a cautionary saga of the dangers of workplace romance? All I know is that both Duke Ellington and Count Basie tried this one out in 1940. Wait for Becky;s witty dramatic interpolation near the end:
Yes, ‘T’IS AUTUMN could have had more ambitious lyrics, but the song is a sweetly memorable hymn to the change of seasons:
WITH A SONG IN MY HEART is one of Richard Rodgers’ melodies with operatic yearnings and lyrics by Lorenz Hart without his usual edge. Becky and John take it at a faster clip — it becomes the song of a deeply romantic wooer who also has things to do and places to get to — but the result still convinces us:
THERE AIN’T NO SWEET MAN (That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears) reminds us of Bix and Tram, Bing and the King of Jazz — an ebullient remembrance of high good times:
GET OUT AND GET UNDER THE MOON is from the same time period, with the lovely conceit that Romance under the night sky is easier than playing cards at home. More rewarding, surely . . . but easier? One wonders at such optimism, but it’s worth cherishing such illusions:
HE’S A TRAMP comes from the Peggy Lee score for the movie LADY AND THE TRAMP, and it’s a peerless casual love song:
I LOVE BEING HERE WITH YOU is another Peggy Lee affirmation, as well as the way we feel about John Sheridan and Becky Kilgore, our swing heroes:
We are immensely lucky to be in the light-hearted, generously illuminating company of Rebecca and John. Long may they shine!ider
P.S. And if my title poses a logical problem — where’s the trio? — consider. A trio here is made up of a singer, a pianist, a swing guitarist. Anyone have a problem with that?
May your happiness increase,