A little poem: She / and they / just blew me away.
I’m speaking of Mara Kaye’s recent appearance at Joe’s Pub, which was a phenomenon rather like the Aurora Borealis as redesigned by Robert Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and a dozen others. With Mara at the helm: she is not simply someone who is producing microwave renditions of old records.
And then there was the band: Kevin Dorn, driving it all with subtlety and ferocity mixed, drums; John Gill, National steel resonator guitar, played as only he can; three reed virtuosi: Dan Block, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Evan Arntzen, clarinet, tenor sax; Jay Rattman, bass sax. Dan Block said of this band, after the fact, “We were like three 747’s!” — no collisions, but much delightful polyphony and energy. Here’s what I wrote about the evening when it happened.
And here are highlights from the first half of this delightfully seismic event:
LITTLE DROPS OF WATER (originally recorded by
Edith North Johnson):
Memphis Minnie’s I’M NOT A BAD GAL:
W.C. Handy’s YELLOW DOG BLUES:
SKINNY LEG BLUES (by the elusive Geeshie Wiley):
Something different but entirely apropos, Mitchell’s Christian Singers’ YOU GOT TO MAKE A CHANGE:
Chippie Hill’s SOME COLD RAINY DAY:
What joy — even in sadness — and what beautifully focused, expertly powerful emotional intensity. A second half of this program will arrive soon. Until then, feel the oceanic surges.
May your happiness increase!