We both grew up in classical music-loving families, and still keep our radio set to WQXR, though admittedly we seldom go to classic concerts or opera. And as children of the 50s we love rock & roll, and doo wop and folk and country, and of course the Beatles and the Stones and the Dead, and the whole rockin’ and soulful soundtrack of our generation. Our son follows the jam band Phish and we love their sound too. But though we enjoy all that music, we don’t necessarily seek it out.
What we really love is musical theatre, the American songbook, and jazz – hot and cool. Over the years we’ve seen some great singers and musicians in cabaret and music hall – Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Annie Ross, Ruth Brown, and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme opening for Frank Sinatra on his 70th birthday.
And Lena Horne, Keely Smith, George Shearing, Jane Monheit, Bobby Short, Regina Carter, Barbara Cooke, Kenny Washington, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Vache, Luci Arnez, Joel Grey, Nancy LaMott, Roy Hargrove, Audra McDonald, Christine Ebersol, Harry Connick, Jr., Cyndi Lauper , and Dave Brubeck bringing down the house the last time we saw him at age 90.
And the Manhattan Rhythm Kings, Dick Hyman, Liza Minelli, Jay Leonardt, Blossom Dearie, Vince Giodano & the Nighthawks, Margaret Whiting, Bucky, John & Martin Pizzarelli, Jessica Molasky, Bill Charlap, Diana Krall, Milt Hinton, Bernadette Peters, Woody Allen, Judy Carmichael, Michael Feinstein, Patty Lapone, Esmeranda Spalding, Aaron Weinstein, Norah Jones, Stacey Kent and Cyrille Aimee.
And in our book, the best of the jazzy chick singers, with that special ping in her voice – the incomparable Rosemary Clooney. We would never, ever miss Rosie when she was in town.
Rich Conaty says it on WFUV’s Big Broadcast every Sunday nite, “Don’t you never forget, rhythm saved the world!”
Dana Susan Lehrman