BOY, DOES SHE EVER SING! I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.
It was a real surprise to me! I was in Connecticut and hadn't seen Dianne (my kid sister) sing since we were kids. We often talked on the phone, but we were far apart and I had heard from friends that she was really good. Yeah, I knew she was good,
even way back when she had to play the roadie to hang with my band. Heck, sometimes she even sang a nice little harmony with us. You know, late in the gig, when nobody cared who was on stage.
But here I was in town and she had a show and I was looking forward to it. She was excited, her friends were excited, what's not to like?
I thought it was sweet. An early afternoon performance at a Holiday Inn, some local arts thing. How could I have known that the Hartford Jazz Society was the oldest existing jazz society in the country? It was a pretty big room and pretty empty an hour before the show. I sure was hoping that some people showed up. Well, at least her friends would be there. I wandered around like a big brother should looking at things, making sure people weren't going to trip over a cable or something that would distract her. Her band seemed to have it all in order and I was glad someone was looking out for her.
After a while I went to her dressing room. Gave her the big pep talk and told her that some people had started to show up and that I was proud of her what ever happened. She told me to go down and take a seat before someone stole the table she had reserved for me right up by the band. I smiled to myself at her optimism, there weren't that many people showing up when I was down there 15 minutes ago.
As I went downstairs I thought it was a good thing I had left when I did, the lobby was packed, must have been a wedding or company party or something, and I had to push my way past to get to the room in which she was performing.
I couldn't believe my eyes! Everyone was trying to get to the same room! The room where she would be singing. It was wall to wall people, at the tables and in chairs lined up behind that. Speaking strictly as a big brother, if these were all close personal friends, she was getting around way too much! Someone rushed by to open another section to accomodate the ever growing crowd, and YES! Someone WAS sitting at my table. As I walked to the table one of her friends got up and pointed at me... then moved elsewhere. Apparently I had a bit of a reputation myself. I sat down just as the band started the first number.
Halfway through this incredibly hot jazz tune, in comes my little sister, with all the attitude of May West, scatting like you couldn't believe with the band. She took the stage and played off each instrument as if to show that they had better stay in line because she could sing their part any time she wanted. The crowd cheered. It was clear. The tables had turned. She wasn't MY kid sister anymore. I was HER big brother. What a show she put on. She was smooth, she was raucous, she could take that audience from melancholy to madness at her whim.
I have lived a fortunate life. I have listened to the greats and seen the way they can move an audience and they had nothing on her. That was a long time ago, she has gotten better now and I wouldn't miss a chance to see her perform.
But by now, if your speakers were on, you have heard her sing a few tunes while you read this and you know too.
I see her more now. She is even farther away, but I fly to see her perform when ever I can. She is my sister, I love her, but if I am able to go to her, I try to plan it when she is singing. What a talent! And that is coming from the guy who made her carry all that equipment so she didn't get any big ideas about joining my band.