Monday, October 8, 2012

06 Oct 12

Hey, blogspot reades, feel that autumn chill in the air. And this reviewer is all dolled up for a special evening out on the town. Tonight, she's ditching the rock scene for a swingin' time at two of Chicago's hot spots for Jazz entertainment. First, SouthSide graced her presence at the legendary Andy's Jazz Club to check out the final two-day performance by Human Spirit (from Seattle, WA). Then she headed to another legendary place - Coq d'Or (located inside The Drake Hotel) to see her friend, Jesse Charbonier charm the audience down memory lane with his fine selections of Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Johnny Mathis, Ethel Waters (and more) rarities and hits. Yes, blogspot readers, this was definitely the perfect night to relax with your favorite cocktail or wine while listening to some great music.

It was a full house when SouthSide arrived at Andy's Jazz Club hosting the last night Chicagoans could relish within the west coast Jazz swing of the trio known as Human Spirit featuring local musicians Chip Stephens (on piano) and Matt Ulrey (on bass). This jazz band incoporated the essence elements of the classic jazz sound but with some of that west coast swing (think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc) just to spice and or liven up the beat to a rhythmic groove. SouthSide got plenty of goosepimples running down her music spine whenever she heard that the upbeat combination of hot trumpet (Thomas Marriott) and cool saxophone (Mark Taylor) tickling the ears with their vibrant melodic bursts of energy. Then she was left feeling breathless from piano-percussion instensity in the tempo which held up Human's rhythm section thus making certain every note was fused together to create that one floetry of momentus sound, blogspot readers. And judging by the audience's enthusiastic applause between trumpet, saxophone and back band solos during each piece performed, they were definitely feeling (besides enjoying) the luscious music heard.

It wasn't too difficult either not to feel each member of Human Spirit adding a bit of himself into the notes being played (especially during the solos). To SouthSide, they were doing more than just playing a song with a series of complicated notes within a scale but allowing you to feel what the composer felt at the time of composition. For example, take the piece 148 Lexington Ave (off Human Spirit's current album Dialogue), this reviewer got the sense she was part of a Mad Men episode while listening to the picturesque every day of life from this particular piece from the way the Thomas on trumpet and Mark on saxophone would perform as a duo and then sololy. She found herself getting "lost" within vibrantly strong yet gentle lull of the staccato tempo and melody to which kept the music flowing in an expressively dramatic tempo setting. There was intense passion as well as heartfelt emotions and gentleness wrapped around the notes played, blogspot readers. It was quite beautiful to feel the fierce crescendo gradually rising to the heart-stopping bursts of saxophone and trumpet joined together as one to pop the music with energizing momentum. This particular piece had a story to tell and each section of Human Spirit told a different piece through music to its audience.

Or take the band's cover of Sam Rivers' Beatrice (which kicked off the 2nd set of the performance). This 1950s classic though keeping the original composition in tact received a slight modernized update from Human Spirit. This particular rendition featured more than just a floetry of rhythms and melodies but also an upbeat swing within vibrant tones of hot passion from both trumpet and saxophone wonderfully expressing the composer's sentiments for the subject. SouthSide was totally enamored by how even while in a downtempo rhythm each member still brought to the stage that passion for the music to the audience whether it was the lively "chatting" done between trumpet and saxophone or the piano and bass (the fastest flying fingers ever seen) and their intense moments. Those moments and more were simply hot as well as energizing that this reviewer had to stop writing and enjoy the wondrous sound flowing around this restuarant/bar venue. It was certainly a delight to their fans too. SouthSide highly recommends attending Human Spirit's next performance and be prepared to not be amazed but be astound by the energy you'll leave with after the show is over. For more information, visit

To cap off her evening about town, SouthSide took in some relaxing moments inside the legendary The Drake Hotel's Coq d'Or where Jesse Charbonier was busily working the crowded room of football fans and wedding guests as well as his "regulars" during another performance of classic music and memories. With Nils popping on drums, Adrian tickling the ivories and Michael rockin' the bass, this hot room was jumpin' and jivin' to the cool selections of Chet Baker, Nat King Cole, and even a Ethel Waters 1930s classic - Mean To Me which had many taking to the dance floor despite no reall room to dance between the wait staff servicing patrons. L-O-V-E was definitely in the air tonight, blogspot readers, as couples reminisce and romanced to lovely magical voice of Jesse Charbonier that you might catch grown men shedding a tear or two while he's performing a particular song. It's true that this reviewer has seen and reviewed this local Jazz singer since his debut last year yet each show is quite different the last. And depending on the mood of his audience, Jesse might even re-arrange his setlist just to accommodate what he feels (as well as observes) from his audience. And the word of the night was "love". There was a special kind of glow surrounding the Coq d'Or as many as six couples took the floor during Chet Baker's Just Friends and Let's Get Lost and Billie Holiday's All Of Me as the "swing shift" began arriving at the bar for late night drinks and dinners.

SouthSide highly recommends checking out Jesse Charbonier whenever he's performing at Coq d'Or however on Oct 20th at Henry's (on Broadway at 105th St in New York), he will be making his NYC debut with two performances - one being a brunch and the other a late night performance. If in NYC or the surrounding area, blogspot readers are strongly encouraged to make reservations now for this only one-day, two-show performance before he heads back to Chicago. Experience the magic and relive memories as SouthSide's friend sings your favorite songs as well as hear a few that are rarely heard. For more information about Jesse Charbonier and his performances, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

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