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November 13, 2003

Carmen Lundy

Pops took me out to the Jazz Bakery last night. The rain was coming down in huge torrents, streets were flooding, but I made it safe and sound to the warmth.

Carmen Lundy is a master musician. Her instrument is her voice. I don't think I've seen a jazz singer with such control and finesse not only over herself but of the combo. (Robert Galper-Piano / Jason Brown-Drums / Curtis Lundy-Bass / Mya Gonzales-Percussion).

She is a singer and there's no fudge in her delivery. Some folks get up on stage and are introduced as 'song stylists', warbling all over the place. Not so with Carmen Lundy, she has a purity that speaks of mastery of an instrument of extraordinary range and dynamism. When she sings in her lower registers, there is never a growl, and hearing her do so reminds you of how rare that is. When she gets into the high notes, she has the clarity and lightness which is somewhat reminescent of Nancy Wilson.

Where Lundy truly shines however is with her dynamic range. On songs like 'I Loves You Porgy', she sings so sweetly and plaintively at lower volumes that it is sanctifying. When she belts out a note on uptempo numbers like 'Wild Child' she's halfway to Ethel Merman and you wonder if the audio equipment can handle it. Lundy works the crowd with spirit but never cloyingly. She shakes and swivels when it's right but when the mood is for quiet and strong singing she takes a sip of tea, postures up and the music just comes out of her.

As a special guest, violinist Regina Carter stepped into the spotlight. She's pretty talented and plays with a unique style. She has some fire and with a bit of confidence she'll do some fine things. Her playing reminded me of the soloist with the Reggae Philharmonic. Carter uses the bluegrass twang which sounds so very nice to hear in jazz improv, but I have the feeling she was a bit reserved last evening in the shadow as she was of Lundy. But I'm looking forward to hearing her tear it up, she was only going down to 8th notes last night.

All said it was quite an inspirational evening. I haven't been out to a concert in a very long time and I really need to take advantage of the fact that I'm here in Los Angeles. I hear Bobby McFerrin will be performing at the Disney. Damn!

Posted by mbowen at November 13, 2003 10:10 AM

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I had the pleasure of experiencing Carmen Lundy on Tuesday evening at Yoshi's in Oakland. Your words could be no truer. Carmen delivered. The End!!! I had heard of her and wanted to check out her music but I am a devoted fan.

Posted by: James at November 14, 2003 12:56 PM

I have had the great pleasure of seeing Carmen Lundy now numerous times since first experiencing her around 1999 at a Jazz Bakery benefit concert at the John Anson Ford Theatre. Last year she did a one nighter at The Vic in Venice and we stayed all through three sets!!! Carmen is the most brilliant jazz singer alive today and she was in awesome form again at The Jazz Bakery and I was lucky to attend opening and closing night!!! Here new cd Something To Believe In is really great and has Wild Child and many of the wonderful numbers that Carmen is doing in her current show. Get the word out!!!Grammy should give her a visit this time out if there is any justice at all!!!! Best wishes, Bradly Briggs

Posted by: bRADLY BRIGGS at November 28, 2003 12:05 AM