June 12, 2006


I should be going to bed. I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn tomorrow morning so I can get to a 10 AM deposition that is at least a 2 1/2 hour drive. But I am sooo wired, as if I'd just had a gallon of coffee.

Our resident steeker, Kelly, inherited a couple of RIJF club passes to use for the night and kindly offered me her second pass. Despite a few missed calls, we finally connected and were able to catch a couple incredible acts.

We started at the Big Tent to check out Sonya Kitchell, whose voice and stage presence belied her mere seventeen tender years. It's hard to categorize her sound, which invoked elements of folk rock and jazz (more of the former than the latter), that provided an unexpected backdrop to a sultry alto that had incredible depth. She reminded me simultaneously of Jewel (sorry, Seth!), Joni Mitchell and Sam Phillips, and was a treat to hear.

Neither Kelly or I are that well-versed in the jazz culture, so after Kitchell's last number, we hunted out Ken and Seth, who had already snagged a table at Max. I had no idea that I was in for the most incredible sensory treat that calls itself BraamdeJoodeVatcher. Who knew that a jazz act could stimulate both auditory and visual senses to a state of euphoria? Certainly, not I! These guys didn't "play" their instruments -- rather, they were extensions of them, bringing the piano, bass and drums to life. Bassist deJoode had the most incredible bow control I've ever seen a string player exhibit and Vatcher's expressions and mannerisms seemed to complete the performance. I was unable to see Braam's face from where I was sitting, but his fingers were magically flying all over the keys, and I couldn't help but wonder how his fingers could just find the right ones (as I recalled all those piano lessons where I'd inevitably find the wrong ones playing under tempo).

These guys produced sound from every part of their respective instruments bringing to mind Stomp -- if Stomp had a jazz trio counterpart, BraamdeJoodeVatcher would be it. Their contagious energy really does give me the same -- if not higher -- buzz than half a pound of chocolate covered espresso beans [Yes, I once really did consume such quantity in one sitting. In my defense, I was studying for the bar exam]. I didn't want the show to end, but as all good things must ...

I need to go back this week to the merch tent at the very least to pick up their CD (or I'll be at Kari & Ken's for dinner every night). C'mon ... how can you not love a group that composes a work entitled "Change This Song" that has movements that can be played in any order, and each movement's title is an anagram of that? Metaphors just don't get any better!

What a great night!

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