a colleague recently asked me which singer i liked the most. questions like these are loaded, especially since i teach in higher ed. the inquirer usually wants to know which jazz vocalist i think is the most important - is it ella, sinatra, tony bennett, bobby mcferrin, or some sleeper like rosemary clooney? the best jazz singer (according to me) is nat cole, hands down, but my favorite vocalist of all time? runners-up include bjork, meredith monk, joan sutherland, and tom waits.
but the winner ... and still champion... daryllllll hallllllll
one of the few perks of rainy days during summer vacation is the opportunity to catch up on all of my tv watching. this morning, my insomnia and i finally blazed through all of the recorded episodes of live from daryl's house. the premise of the show is that a guest shows up, does some tunes with daryl & his band, squeezes into a half-baked cooking segment, and then thanks him for being amazing. these shows usually take place at his sprawling crib in maine, and occasionally in his waterfront digs in london. he buys these old places and flips them. maybe i could get him to help me with landscaping my front yard, but only if he shaves off that excuse for a beard.
i am a behind-the-scenes junkie, fascinated with knowing how something actually works. my friend justin and i went to a salsa band show once back in college, and hung out at the front of the stage. a bunch of FINE women were dancing their rear ends off, and kept coming up to us and asking that we come join them. justin told them "nah... we're checking this out in a different way." what makes these tunes work, keeps those booties bouncing, runs up the till at the door?
daryl usually does a couple tunes from the guest's pen, and sometimes works in a gem from his deep vault of hits. i like getting exposed to new artists, watching them rehearse with his band, and attempt to mask their googoo eyes when daryl slays them on his verse. he also plays guitar or keyboards, both without the deftness of his vocal pyrotechnics.
the rehearsal space is cool. mics and assorted gear stand as landmarks amidst the labyrinth of cables. the exposed wood and oriental rugs remind me of the lobby of a country inns & suites, but without the mandatory waffle maker. huge points are scored in my book with the metal sign of eddie feigner, the most amazing sports entertainer i've ever seen (assuming we're not counting wwe house shows).
some of my favorite episodes feature grace potter, allen stone, travis mccoy (without his gym class heroes), the bacon brothers, kt tunstall, my guilty pleasures billy ocean and maxi priest, an absolutely killer session with cee lo greene, and this collaboration with nikki jean on the song to which the wife and i shared our first dance.
i would drop everything at the drop of a hat to play three gigs in this world: a horn player with either halloween, alaska or the swedish power trio dirty loops, and the chance to play those iconic lines with the hall & oates band (providing i could do them on alto...is that too much to ask?)