Anyone can buy tubes of paint and a canvas at the art supplies store; anyone can buy a blank journal at the bookstore. But there’s so much work, contemplation and self-contemplation that must take place before one can become even a fledgling painter or writer. Some divinely talented children create marvels while their driver’s licenses are still new, but I admire those artists whose life-maturity shines through their work.
To me, this is especially true in jazz singing. Anyone can learn the lyrics, learn the melody (from the paper or from hallowed recordings) but what then? Does the singer really understand the meanings of the words and the meanings under the meanings? The finest singers make me feel what it’s like to be dancing cheek to cheek, to be old-fashioned, to make emotional commitments — not only to the imaginary love-object, but to the song, to the songwriters, to the audience.
Barbara Rosene is just one of those artists I admire: she is Growed Up, and it’s not a matter of numbers on her passport: when she sings, I know that she knows what she’s singing about, whether it’s fidelity to an ideal, devotion to beauty, or the hope of fulfillment. Barbara and Jon Davis put on a true master’s class in creating art one evening some months ago at Mezzrow. Here is the example I posted last December: how very touching (even for someone like me, who recoils at every fragment of musical holiday cheer)!
And more. Admire, at your leisure, the deep beauties of Barbara’s voice — but better still are the messages she sends us, complex, easy, and aimed straight at our hearts. And Jon (whom I hadn’t known earlier) is the best partner, enhancing the mood, serving the song rather than saying “Here I am! Look at me!” at every turn — although his solos show off his adult virtuosity as well.
You will find it nearly impossible to locate DREAMSVILLE by using Waze, but Barbara and Jon know where it’s located:
and another adult song, thanks to Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer:
And here Barbara dramatizes hope and the fragility of hope:
Love comes to the rescue, delightfully:
and a wistful yet triumphant Rodgers and Hart opus:
I think it’s lovely to experience Barbara, going her own sweet way. And I trust you know she is also an artist on canvas, her paintings as distinctive as her song.
Beauty is still very much possible: so reassuring.
May your happiness increase!