REAL and BEAUTIFUL: WESLA WHITFIELD, MIKE GREENSILL, DUKE HEITGER, KERRY LEWIS, JOHN VON OHLEN at JAZZ AT CHAUTAUQUA 2013

Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill are deeply authentic.  Her voice, his piano, are full of wise passionate energy.  They don’t glide over the surface of the songs they choose; rather, they embody the lyrics and honor the depths of the melody and harmonies.

Like many of you, I had been fortunate to hear their recordings, but I don’t think I truly appreciated their work fully until this year’s Jazz at Chautauqua. Here are two masterful performances from Thursday, September 19, 2013, where they are given subtle, knowing support from Kerry Lewis, string bass, and John Von Ohlen, drums.  On UNTIL THE REAL THING COMES ALONG, Duke Heitger sings with great feeling through his trumpet, as he always does.

Mike is a masterful accompanist, suggesting, supporting, commenting but never intruding, but I was particularly captivated by the emotional range of Wesla’s singing, from elegantly thoughtful to intensely raw.  What art is here in their dramatic musings on The Great Subject.

“If that isn’t love, it will have to do”:

“Love is funny, or it’s sad”:

May your happiness increase! 

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5 responses to “REAL and BEAUTIFUL: WESLA WHITFIELD, MIKE GREENSILL, DUKE HEITGER, KERRY LEWIS, JOHN VON OHLEN at JAZZ AT CHAUTAUQUA 2013

  1. Michael,

    I first saw Wesla about 20 years ago opening for Michael Feinstein at the Garden State Arts Center. I was so taken by how she made that huge venue seem like her living room. Subsequently, I have seen her countless tiimes, and she is always stunning. Having Mike as her support is great benefit as he is among the best of accompanists. I encourage anyone who has not experienced the magic created by these two giants to make every effort to do so. They are based in the Bay area, but usually make at least one visit to NYC each year.

    Duke does indeed “sing” beautifully through his horn. I have never seen him in person, but have enjoyed many of his recordings.

    I have not seen John Von Ohlen since his days on the Kenton band, but have all of his recordings with the Blue Wisp Big Band from Cincinnati. He sure is tasteful here.

    Thank you for posting these tastes of the magnificent artistry of these performers. I hope that you have some more of their performances to come.

    Joe

  2. More to come indeed.

  3. Duke Heitger just simply “sings” beautifully whether it’s his trumpet or his voice. I heard him sing on something you posted on You Tube a few years ago with Becky Kilgore. He’s also a great singer!

    Oh…and Mike and Wesla? I once said they idle at perfection; it only gets better from there. I stand by that.

  4. Wesla Whitfield! Mmmmm mmm mmm. Don’t get much better.

  5. Please come back to perform here in Rossmoor…. where a devoted
    group of listeners to you and your husband, Mike, will great you with
    great enthusiasm.

    You, together, make such beautiful music ! ! 1

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