Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's roaming around town spreading more seasonal cheer on a wet, rainy night. First, she made a brief appearance at Celebrity Salon (in Evanston, IL) to drop off her toy donation at the Toys For Tots charity event. This BYOB toy-raiser event helped raised a delightful array of toys for needy boys and girls to open on Christmas as well as rocked the packed tiny salon with a lively music lineup featuring SouthSide's friends The Telepaths and WhiteWolfSonicPrincess All-stars with Hannah Frank, Longbottom Leaf and many more. This reviewer was unable to stay for all of the fun and raffles because she had two other engagements scheduled to attend before the night was over. Her next stop was to the world famous Drake Hotel specifically Coq d'Or to see her good friend Jesse Charbonier.
Though missing the first set of his bi-monthly 4 hour long jazz performance, SouthSide arrived in time at this popular cocktail lounge/restuarant of Drake Hotel for two fun sets of Jesse's holiday show, blogspot readers. Flanked with Adrian (on piano) and Michael (on bass), this phenomenal jazz crooner/songwriter performed a variety of jazz standards as well as holiday favorites to a crowded audience. Yet there was something new added to his music repertoire which brought dancing couples to display their lovely moves throughout his sets. SouthSide enjoyed the addition of swing rhythms and tempo into certain songs that did more than make the music pop and couples dance. It gave Jesse and the band a fun opportunity to ad lib on the song's original jazz composition especially during the instrumental bridge. Opening his second set with a lively version if the Charles Schultz' Peanuts theme (aka Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi) to get the crowded bar into the holiday spirit, Jesse once again wowed and impressed the listening audience with his dynamic style, bright smile and charismatic presence ...plus his crooner-jazz voice which made each song performed popped with a burst of life and excitement. Jesse has, what SouthSide would say, the right magic touch to make such classics by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and more feel so fresh and new again. For example, when performing Christmas Song ("...chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."), one of the most overplayed yet popular holiday songs, Jesse and his dynamic falsetto voice instead turned it into a classy jazz piece as well as playful with his own spin on the music and lyrics.
And speaking of music, let's not forget about the band behind Jesse, blogspot readers. To say Adrian and Michael are an intricate part of the show would be a gross understatement. These two musicians are very important of what makes a Jesse Charbonier show such a delight to behold ...and extra special if attending with the love of your life. In SouthSide's honest opinion, no other musician duo would be able to highlight ...as well as spotlight Jesse's jazz style and music "mannerisms" as they did on Saturday. Even while in an instrumental bridge, whether it's a solo or performing together, Adrian and Michael also add their own little magic spin to the songs. Sometimes it would be a Jingle Bells bar at the end (like during Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas) or a touch of gentleness to a jazz ballad like Lover Come Back to Me or You've Changed. Watch out for Greshwin's Rhapsody In Blue to the end of What A Little Moonlight Can Do. Without these two specific musicians, Jesse wouldn't have that such fun camaraderie especially not really trying to flub on the song ending to All Or Nothing At All. Yet it was the best non-intentional flub seen by thie reviewer in which the singer had a good laugh when the set was over for a short break.
Besides music and Jesse, there's also audience fun and participation too, blogspot readers. Meet Millie (from the lovely city of Columbia, South Carolina). She had the dubious honor of joining Jesse and the band during a jazzy rendition of Frosty The Snowman on sleigh bells. As SouthSide experienced firsthad this summer, it's not easy performing in front of a room full of strangers. However, with a bright smiles and cheery presence, Millie was wonderful (though temporary) addition to Jesse's peformance. She seemed to have a great time rockin' the bells while staying in rhythm along with the band's lively jazz tempo (which is sometimes difficult to do, blogspot readers). Also meet Mike M. He and his lovely dance partner (as well as many other nameless couples) brightened up the Coq d'Or floor with their smooth dance movements consisting of a standard waltz or quick-paced swing steps during certain songs. Mike and his partner looked quite the romantic pair especially when Jesse performed Silver Bells and Johnny Mathis' classic Chances Are which was also dedicated to a nice couple visiting from Detroit. It was the perfect night for romance, blogspot readers, and dancing to Jesse's ultra smooth voice on other classics like All Of Me, L-O-V-E, Let's Get Lost and though not part of the holiday season but just as romantic anytime of the year - My Funny Valentine (always an absolute pleasure to hear).
SouthSide highly recommends spending your Christmas Eve night or pre-ringing the New Year (Dec 30) with Jesse Charbonier and his jazzy holiday show at the famous Coq d'Or lounge. The shows are FREE ...so bring the love of your life and/or dance partner for a romantic evening of jazz but get there early - he does attract a crowd. For more information, visit http://www.jessecharbonier.com or on Facebook.
Until next time, support your local scene,