I’ve been listening, entranced, to Tamar Korn four almost four years now, and I first recorded her in November 2008, at the East Village bar, Banjo Jim’s. She was then a charter member of the Cangelosi Cards, a group that mixed Twenties hot jazz, Quintette of the Hot Club of France, Fats Waller, Jimmie Rodgers, and what I think of as barn-dance music. It is possible that the first time I heard her was at the end of a Sunday night at The Ear Inn, where everyone was entranced by her singing. Later, she has appeared with Dennis Lichtman’s Brain Cloud, Gordon Au’s Grand Street Stompers, and with small groups of her own.
Tamar was not merely a singer who had chosen to mimic an assortment of unusual vocal breaks and yodels, adding to this a muted trumpet simulation that would have won the hearts of the Mills Brothers, and an air-violin that was both another way to get to the heart of the melody and a loving evocation of her father, an expert violinist. Her background was originally in theatre, so she delighted in experimenting with the possibilities of her voice, a remarkable instrument in itself. Her approach is deceptively delicate but intense, and she makes each song into a small drama, arching from quiet expositions to near-operatic climaxes, her improvisations becoming more and more brave. But she always swings.
I usually saw and recorded Tamar in places where people were chatting, drinking, laughing . . . understandable but distracting. So when I had the chance to capture her and the Cards at the Shambhala Meditation Center in New York City (February 27, 2010), it was a cherished experience. (Thanks to Paul Wegener!) Here is one segment of that evening.
I thought that the concert at the Shambhala would be the only time I would be able to see and hear Tamar and friends in such a peaceful place.
But I am happy to report that through the good offices of all the musicians and the Varshavsky family, I was able to bring my video camera to the Porto Franco Art Center at 953 Valencia Street in San Francisco . . . and share the divine music with you.
Tamar was joined by her New York friends Gordon Au, trumpet; Dennis Lichtman, clarinet and violin; Rob Adkins, string bass, and SF’s remarkable Craig Ventresco, guitar and banjo.
A fast SOMEDAY SWEETHEART:
I’VE GOT A FEELIN’ I’M FALLIN’:
IF YOU WANT THE RAINBOW (You Must Have The Rain):
WHEN YOU WORE A TULIP:
Miss Korn is amazing. But so are Messrs. Au, Lichtman, Adkins, and Ventresco, each of them a sweet explorer, searching deep into the music.
Another set awaits.
May your happiness increase.