My current life is imperfect and (not “but”) I am deeply grateful for it. One of the aspects of it that deeply warms me is living in a world where creative people are my friends. Even though we don’t see each other on a regular basis, one of the people I treasure is the extraordinary singer Marianne Solivan. I was first introduced to her by the equally splendid Michael Kanan — this was in 2011 (!) and followed her around with a video camera a few years ago. We most recently encountered each other last September at an awards ceremony. Hugging ensued.
Marianne has always had a powerful emotional connection with what she is singing: she doesn’t stand back and view the song with a cool postmodernist glance. No, she’s IN it before she utters a syllable, and that’s entrancing. It isn’t “acting”; rather it’s experiencing in the moment. You can feel the music flow through her, as she embraces each note and syllable before passing it along to us.
But what I love most about Marianne’s performing is her willingness to take what someone else’s GPS says are wrong turns and make them inescapably right and rewarding. Sometimes she even appears to be conversing with the song, “Song, what would you think if I emphasized this note, or held off on this phrase in an unexpected way? How would you like that?”
She has a true playful spirit, she loves experimenting, and her internal compass never fails. Drop her in strange surroundings, she makes friends; she sniffs out congenial places; she’s not afraid. Ask her to sing in the wrong key, and she makes a banquet of it.
And so it is with the performance captured at Luca’s Jazz Corner — with Josh Richman, piano; Matthew Parrish, string bass — on July 20, 2017.
Watching and hearing this for the first of many times, I was laughing –Marianne is a great comedienne who hasn’t scripted a thing — while delighting in the music and the beauty she makes. A courageous striving soul, a great spreader of joy. I am honored to know her. Seek her out here, on disc, and in person.
May your happiness increase!