Sunday, August 5, 2012


Rosemary Chave
 I have seen and listened to Rosemary Chavez more times than I can count because I absolutely love her singing. And she is always superb.  On this night, from the moment she takes the stage at The Marketplace Cafe in Sedona, Arizona  there is a fire in her that  burns through every note and gesture and smile.  Has Mercury gone direct?  It has for Rosemary Chavez!  

The restaurant is nearly full at 6:30 and within half an hour the music room will be packed with Rosemary's fans.  The air is charged with anticipation for she and her band Platinum have not played this venue in quite a few years.  Why?  I do not know.  But tonight's fabulous entertainment will put all ideas of that continuing back where they belong:
in the dead idea file.

Ms. Chavez takes the stage draped in a low-cut black evening dress and matching stole with a bit of bling embellishing earlobes, décolleté, and waist.  She welcomes us with her warm smile and infectious enthusiasm and eases us into the evening with her tender rendering of the plaintive melody and lyrics of Luiz Bonfa's jazz standard "Manha de Carnival" ("A Day in the Life of a Fool"), then follows it with  Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Meditation", which she and the band perform so uptempo that to samba to it would dislocate my hips, but listening to it juices me up and releases every inhibition I possess.  Okay, the easing us in is over, and the juicing us up has begun! 
Rosemary & Frankie Chavez
Rosemary's rendition of Duke Ellington's "Do Nothin' 'til You Hear from Me" swings so hard I can barely stay in my seat. Platinum's pianist Matt Jackson is a monster (in a good way) on the keyboards with innovation and facility and an accompanist's sensitivity as well as a soloist's talent and skill.  Scottish Bryan on the bass pops those strings like corn: clear and crisp and tender. Reaching out to my solar plexus, his bass line, like an umbilical chord, joins me to the source.  Frankie Chavez, Rosemary's husband, on the drums sets the time, infuses the time with passion and creativity yet never loses the time, and stretches the time, holding back a fraction of a second to suspend us in the air until his arm descends and his drumstick hits that skin and sets us free!   To begin the second set of music this night, the trio plays a jazz standard composed by Juan Tizol, made famous by  the Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Caravan".  This is a song I have rarely liked listening to, but Matt, Bryan, and Frankie play it so true, so spare yet so full, so filled with passion that it rocks the room. And I love it!

Rosemary Chavez's voice--rich, supple, tender, soulful, and earthy--wraps itself around the notes, the rhythm, the feel of every song she sings: from "Scotch and Soda" to "Smooth Operator".   And with her consummate musicianship--scatting included--do not think for a moment that the lyrics take second place.  Oh, no.  Not with Ms. Chavez.  She is a lyric singer's singer as is evident in particular this night with her interpretations of the Matt Dennis ballad "Angel Eyes" and the Carole King rock/pop classic "It's Too Late". Intelligent, sensitive, wistful, and wise in the ways of the world, Rosemary can bring out the sly humor in a lyric with the wink of an eye or the shrug of a slightly-revealed, stole-draped shoulder.  No sly humor is there in the song "Fever" but all out sexual declaration.  Ms. Chavez sloes her eyes, snaps her fingers, and sings, "Chicks were born to give you fever, be it Fahrenheit or Cent-i-grade".  She downright sizzles!  And so do we.  But what a lovely way to burn.

Tasteful, sassy, and classy.  Beautiful, warm, and welcoming.
Impassioned, empowered, and on fire!  Rosemary Chavez is a force of Nature.
May the force be with us forever! 

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