Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Surprise Performance

See, I couldn't stay away for long! Despite the disclaimer yesterday, I could not resist a new entry today. The reason is rather a special one. Last night, Ellie and I went out--unusually late in the evening for us--to see our trusty part-time assistant Emily play with her band at a local club. She invited us weeks ago, but we have been away too frequently on Wednesdays, her weekly gig night, to take her up on the invitation. We should have gone sooner... it was great!

The club, 1642, was what she herself describes as a "hole-in-the-wall" in an unlikely spot on Temple Boulevard just west of downtown Los Angeles. It was already crowded by the time we arrived, at nine, just before the band, The Hi-Fi Honeydrops, started its first of three sets. We bought a glass of wine (for me--a sparkling water for Ellie) and settled in at the prime table Emily had kindly reserved for us.

We had no idea, of course, what to expect. I have known Emily only as the wonderful young person who shows up a couple of times a week and does her best to keep me organized. She also comes and stays in the house with George when we go out of town; she has grown to like it here, and finds Ellie's study a good place to practice on her tenor saxophone; for this reason, George is the only one in the family to have heard her play, and he has not let on how good she is.

I knew that Emily was a musician, of course, when she came to work with us a while ago. I just did not know how accomplished a musician she actually is. I had a hard time picturing this very petite young woman with a tenor saxophone, which had to be almost as tall as she is. I'm very glad, now, to have seen and heard her play. Not only, I discovered, does she play the sax with enormous dexterity and skill, she sings with a full-throttle voice I would never have imagined emerging from her throat! I'm certainly no music expert, but to my inexpert ear the band, led by her friend David Elsenbroich, were at once highly disciplined as an ensemble and individually talented musicians. They tackled everything from warmly familiar numbers like "Blue Skies", "Stars Fell on Alabama," and "Stormy Weather" (bravo, Emily!) to Latin and country music. I'm particularly partial to the latter, and loved their lively rendition of Bob Wills's "Rose of San Antone."

Ellie and I both loved the evening, loved the energy, loved the sound. Still somewhat weary from our recent travels, we had forewarned Emily that we'd stay only for the first set. As it turned out, we were so thoroughly engaged, we stayed on for nearly the whole length of the second. As I told Emily before we left, I'll have to treat her now with much greater respect!

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