It Was A Wonderful Night
Thursday night I finally got to see a singer whose work I have long been enamored of and even posted about just below: Basia Trzetrzelewska (link goes to WikiPedia for a detailed look at her). I can't recall how many years ago by brother Michael gave me her "Basia On Broadway" double live CD but I was about three songs into it when I was gobsmacked by her talent. Obviously, I'm a slow learner. Compounded by the fact that I'd never even heard of her before. But I assiduously set about to collect her entire self-titled oeuvre.Which I have done. I would also like to take this moment to point out that she has done a lot of work with the superb guitarist Peter White. It really doesn't hurt to have just some of the best musicians in the genre to provide the sound behind the singer.
Which also leads to a couple of notes about the show on Thursday. The stage was pretty full: drummer, guitarist (Peter White had an obligation elsewhere so a very talented fill in was there), Danny White (Peter's brother) on keyboards, a flautist/saxophonist/percussion player, the chick singers and Basia herself. And what a polyglot crowd it was on stage. Danny White and the drummer (who really did a fabulous job - great rhythms and never overwhelmed the music) are Brits. Basia is, of course, Polish. The guitarist was Corsican and the twins who sang backup (and some lead) were Mauritian! From the town of Quatre Bornes in fact, not too terribly far from the town of Vacoas in which the residence of the US ambassador is located. Very lovely ladies who were rather surprised when I asked where in Mauritius they were from. It is a wonderful world wherein a group of people from those scattered corners of the world can come together on a stage and make beautiful music. I won't say "it doesn't get any better than this" because what if I won the lottery and hired these folks to play a concert for me and my friends. That would be better. But it was awfully damned good.
I can't reproduce the set list although she opened with her wonderful ballad "Yearning." And she sang every song I really wanted to hear. Her take on Tom Jobim's classic "Waters of March," "Miles Away" and "A Gift" from her latest release. Bottom line is that it was a great, great show. To my untrained ear, she has not lost a note in a voice with exceptional range, power and control. This was really driven home to me as I watched some of the "Electric Proms" from the BBC on TV the other day. It was one show of The Who and another of Sir Paul Mac. Roger Daltrey's voice, God bless him for what he sang for so long, is just devastated, as has been noted on PoW in the past. As much as I'd like to see and hear the Remains of The Who, he should retire his pies. And McCartney's voice, while not as ravaged as Roger's is no longer the sweet sound it was in the past. He really should retire from the stage as well. Sorry guys. Don't lead us into regret.
I apologize for the digression but it is by way of illustration that Basia's voice is everything it ever was. Maybe it's a function of her singing smooth jazz but she sings it with such power that I venture to say that it's more a measure of her using her voice well. And her hiatus from performing. OK. That does make a difference. But still, she must be given credit for getting on stage and delivering everything she gave her songs since first she sang them.
She is also so absolutely gorgeous that I told her I thought there might be some album art in her attic that's aging because she surely wasn't. "Ah Dorian Gray" she said and hugged me! It was not gratuitous. I fully meant it. If you look at the cover art for "It's That Girl Again," you'll see what I mean. And what a magic cataract of beautiful brunette tresses! As sweeping and glossy as a raven's wing. Yeah, getting a hug from her was an unexpected blessing. I also mentioned how much I enjoyed hearing "Miles Away" which seemed to make her happy as well. Not an often requested song perhaps.
How did I manage meeting her? Well, at The Birchmere, artists often will meet and greet after the show but it's never to be expected and Basia didn't do so. However I was lucky enough to have parked by the stage door (by the chance of it being as close as I could get for arriving late) and thus was able to hang around despite the cold and spitting rain to get my CD jewel box inserts signed. (extended happy dance) I really dig having autographed media. And thus, my friends, I was able this wonderful lady to my "seen live" list.