Friday, December 19, 2014

When jazz is a family affair

The South County Jazz Club's matinee concert at the Venice FL Art Center on Thursday, December 18 showed how much fun jazz can be when it's a family affair.

Hod O'Brien
It doesn't hurt to have had a family with considerable chops. Hod O'Brien, a fine bebop pianist  since the 1950s, led the trio that backed his wife, singer Stephanie Nakasian. They brought along a special musical treat - their 20-year-old daughter, Veronica Swift - who is blossoming as a fine singer in the jazz, rock and electronica worlds. 

Jazz standards and Great American Songbook  material were blended with a bit of stride piano, and material associated with singers Billie Holiday, Helen Humes (the blues "Million Dollar Secret"), Ethel Waters and Lee Wiley. Nakasian's engaging lyrical treatments were enhanced by O'Brien's keyboard mastery.

Nakasian, Mopsick
Two southwest Florida jazz stalwarts, bassist Don Mopsick and drummer Patricia Dean,  were aboard for this musical journey with Virginia-based Nakasian and O'Brien (who turns 79 next month).  

In the spirit of the season, Nakasian treated the audience to "Christmas is Really Creepin' Up on Me," a clever, swinging tune that Mopsick wrote about 15 years ago - so long ago, he told me between sets, that he had forgotten about it. Nakasian said she plans to record the song next year.
Veronica Swift

Swift, a junior at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, was a pleasant surprise for most in the room. She sang three numbers during the afternoon, including a most interesting take on "September in the Rain." As part of an assignment at school, Swift wrote her own vocalese lyrics to saxophonist Lester Young's instrumental solo on his recording of the tune. Swift has remarkable finesse and an uncanny sense of swing. She also has tremendous vocal range that will serve her well. 

Stephanie Nakasian, Veronica Swift
 She joined her mother for a show-closing vocal duet version of "I Got Rhythm." And they certainly did.

Hod O'Brien and Stephanie Nakasian

No comments:

Post a Comment