Friday, February 27, 2015

Florida meets jazz singer Tess Collins

Tess Collins
Tess Collins took a circuitous route for her first concert before a Florida jazz audience. It began in her native Maine, wove through several major cities in China where she appears regularly (including Beijing and Shanghai) and her new home base, London. 

The Southwest Florida stop coincided with a vacation visit with relatives on Florida's east coast. She came to the Gulf Coast on Thursday, February 26, to perform as a special guest of pianist Mac Chrupcala's trio at the Venice Art Center. The concert was part of the South County Jazz Club's matinee series.

The band's music was exceptional all afternoon - and Collins stole the show - earning standing ovations at the end of each set. This young singer has great chops, a very strong ability to engage her audience, and a wide-ranging jazz repertoire. 

Mac Chrupcala, John Lamb
Chrupcala, a snowbird who divides his year between the Newport RI and SW Florida jazz scenes, has worked with Collins for about six years in New England. They were joined by two other fine talents, bassist John Lamb and drummer Dave Morgan. They developed an instant musical rapport.

Personal favorites: 
  • Their unusually funky, bluesy romp through "Summertime" that turned the otherwise tired tune into something fresh and vibrant
  • Collins' knowing and poignant interpretation of "Blame It On My Youth"
  • The trio's instrumental version of "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?"
  • And the two set closers: Bonnie Raitt's dirty blues "Love Me Like a Man" and their gospel-imbued take on Billy Holiday's "God Bless The Child"
That said, there wasn't a bad moment all afternoon. Collins said she wants to make a return appearance when she next visits Florida, and the full house at the concert made it clear she'll be most welcome.
Morgan, Lamb, Chrupcala, Collins

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