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1 month ago

Greg McGee
The night before Cyrille’s Friday night performance, I had the luck of getting the Uber call to pick up Cyrille and her piano player Sadamu Hirsh, for a ride to a basement jam somewhere off of 6th street. Secret concert. We got to talking, and in the 15-minute ride, we became friends, at least, as much friendship as can happen in 15 min. She offered to put me on the list so I could come to see the show, and I gave her the download link to my latest novel, “The ReWrite.”
Now, I’m not a jazz aficionado, but love good music of both kinds, you know, country AND western. I figured there may be a third kind, after all “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is a thing.
So, I went.
These 3 guys come out on stage first, the piano player, Sadamu, the bass player, Max Gerl with a stand-up bass AND a 6-string electric bass. (I didn’t know such things existed!) Oh, and Pedro Segundo, the 4 handed drummer/percussionist.
Then Cyrille came out and started singing this soft, exotic, ethereal number, with instrumentation so subtle and meter so perfectly matched to her waif-ish voice, one would swear that these people played together every day of their lives and had somehow perfected some sort of mind meld which enabled them to foresee exactly what the other person was going to do. But, they don’t. Pedro just flew in from the East coast and barely made it in time for the concert. And Max, well they picked him up along the way. Crazy.
This is, apparently, what jazz is all about. And now I’m a fan. It’s probably a good thing I got to see it live done by a group at the top of their game.
Cyrille is an artist who is not afraid to take chances with her voice. To stretch it out way past where it’s comfortable, and to scat these intricate scales with the precision of a woodwind. Her range goes way up there where the air is thin, all the way down to the alto range. It’s like butter would sound if it could sing. Sometimes it’s spread on toast all nice and smooth, and sometimes it's mixed with sugar and cinnamon and comes out spicy and crunchy. Nice. I didn’t hear a sour note during the entire 90 min. set. I was completely entranced.
The concert wasn’t limited to quiet wispy songs, either. Cyrille’s easy banter, with the audience, spiced with wry humor and honesty, made me feel like I was part of the family. She described the meaning of the songs in other languages such as French and Spanish, (for us language-challenged provincials,) and shared anecdotes about her life and why she does what she does.
But most important, everybody got plenty of chances to just pound it out on the keys, the strings, the skins and the vocal chords.
It was a complete joy to watch these musicians kick it! The ensemble was so fine, so full of love and lightness that I must admit it brought me to tears (of joy) more than once.
That is the power of mq
This concert could easily be pressed right onto vinyl and released as a live album. It was THAT good.
Sadamu was perfection on the keys , and Max's fingers could no doubt have handled a 7th string on the bass, if that ever gets invented.
You probably think I’m lying about the 4-handed-drummer, Pedro. OK, that’s what’s called poetic license. Of course, he had only 2 (or 3 hands at the most.) But he was doing the work of 3 people – a trap set, a percussionist, and a synth player. I told him, after the concert that, if this band was a shrimp boat, he should get 3 shares. I’m not sure he got the reference, but, well you could watch “Forrest Gump” later and it’s all explained there.
Then, Cyrille tells the guys to go take a break, because, you know how guys just don’t have the bladder size women do these days. So, she goes over to this crazy little box named Rupert the Looper. Then she makes up this song by layering her voice over and over until it begins to sound like there are a hundred people singing at the same time, with percussion that she makes with mouth sounds and clicks and, well I have no idea what! It kept getting more and more complex, and almost falling apart and then assembling itself back together, kind of like Will Robinson’s robot on “Lost in Space,” till it comes out the other end like the last chord of “A Day In The Life,” (Sgt. Peppers LHCB, The Beatles) to utter silence. Until the applause, of course. She just made this up right on the spot!
Support the arts. Go out and see somebody make music for real. They may not be as good as these guys, but it will still be amazing to see and hear.

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7 months ago

Greg McGee
I have a lawyer! Not as easy as you’d think . But, done! ... See MoreSee Less
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