This Journey

Thoughts, rants, prayers, sermons I'll never give and other stuff gathered as I make my way through this life.

Holly Cole at The Dakota

I am so glad I spent the money on myself to go to hear her! I probably didn’t need to splurge on a Walleye Cesear and a scotch, but I did anyway.

As the set started I realized that I haven’t been to see live Jazz since I was in New York City in 2000. That was an amazing night with an old high school friend. A house blues band and too many scotches that he bought (he had a bigger and better expense account…he bought the sushi too) that resulted in me sharing a cigar with him by the end of the night. Oy. And no, I’m not telling any more about that!

But tonight! Tonight was amazing. I don’t know where to start. The musicianship from the stage was unparalleled in my recent experience. She was here with her Trio. Piano, double-bass and a woodwind player that I haven’t seen the likes of since my college days when I was dating Richard Dirlam. (He was/is the first musician that ever made me lust in my heart for him just by playing MUSIC. Sadly we didn’t really make good duet partners “in person” if you know what I mean. And he was also the first person I dated who turned me off completely by saying “Oh, I don’t pay attention to politics. I figure they know what they’re doing.” But he is an amazing musician.)

Over the course of the evening tonight, the sax player played: Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Bass Clarinet (using circular breathing at one point!!) and Bass Flute.

The set started with Invitation to the Blues which just grabbed me by the throat. I was really concerned that if the whole night was going to be like that piece, I might be a mess of snot and water by the end. And what would the people sitting on either side of me at the knee-wall of the bar think about that?

But I was saved by a rendition of It’s Too Darn Hot, which doesn’t seem to be recorded. Or at least not released in the US via iTunes. But it changed the mood and wasn’t quite so….personal.

Then something from the new album “Holly Cole”, This House is Haunted By the Echo of Your Last Goodbye, another traditional tune. Next up was Cry (If You Want to) which, if I hadn’t been thinking about a certain kilt-wearing saxophone player before this, this would have been the point at which I couldn’t have helped it.

One album I might have to get is “Temptation” which is a collection of Tom Waits songs. She did an amazing job on Tango Til They’re Sore. Tom Waits songs are always so interesting to me. Sometimes I get so distracted by his voice that I don’t hear the text. But when someone else sings it, it really breaks open the lyric. This was no exception. And, like Lovett’s God Will, (which they did not play) I like her version better than the composer’s.

Then came Me and My Shadow. I have to say, she has so much fun with the old standards and treats them so creatively that they are really fresh and new.

The next song is driving me crazy because I can’t figure out the title. She introduced it by saying that she grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia by the sea and that this was her favorite song about the sea. I didn’t recognize it though and the titles I guessed at are not listed on iTunes either. BUT this is the one where the bass clarinet and string bass started out like a fog horn, and then the the two of them had a riff that painted gently but continuous rolling waves, and THAT’S where I realized “He’s using circular breathing!” (For all the non-music geeks that’s when, while you’re playing, you puff out your cheeks with air, then use that air to play a few more notes while you breath in through your nose. Usually used by trumpet players because there’s not such a huge column of air to keep moving while you do it. But this was with a BASS CLARINET!!)

Three standards were next. Slow Boat to China, Larger than Life and Charade were next, and again: fun, unexpected treatments and not cliched. Followed by I want you, one she wrote, (I think.) Then her finale was I Can See Clearly Now.

They came back for an encore set. You’ve Got a Secret, another she wrote but not recorded (and one I felt like she had written for me — hello, cliche moment from About a Boy. Gack.) But it was a great song. And then used Ain’t it a Kick in the Head while she introduced and told little stories about each of the guys; Johnny Johnson, Mark and Dave…don’t remember their last names!! I went to her site and I learned that her trio is not “standard”… at least on the albums and there’s no real Trio page.

So I leave the club, feeling great and thinking “I should text McKilt and tell him to come down for the 9:30 show. He’d love this. But the MC said there weren’t tickets left.” Plus, I keep this inner dialog going that’s something like “Just because you think he’d like _____ doesn’t mean you have to tell him about it.”

So, I forget about that and thought about what a fabulous time I had. I got home and decided to download a few of the songs and write this post. And I felt my phone vibrate. It was 3 text messages. One from my YWCA trainer saying I needed to do 50 sit-ups before bed! And 2 from McKilt, saying that it was good to see me last Saturday and that his daughter really did break her wrist again when she fell (she was roller skating with the drama club that night.)

So I texted back and said how sorry I was to hear about his daughter…hope she mends quickly, etc. And “I was just thinking about you as I was at The Dakota to hear Holly Cole. Wow! You know her, right?”

He texts back: “I’m sitting at the Dakota’s bar as I write this waiting for the 9:30 show to start. I broke my vow of not spending money on myself just for this!”

Of course, I had to reply that “You are going to LOVE it. And you deserve every penny and each note. At least that’s what I told myself.”

*sigh* Second guessing oneself is such a fun time.

OH!!! I almost forgot. I walked from the parking garage (my usual one for work) to the club (just a couple of blocks) and back WITHOUT A COAT. I know, I know: I’m going on and on and ON about that. And evil-e is going to say I’m jinxing it. But I already know we’re owed a March blizzard. It comes with the territory. And my mom’s birthday and the high school tournaments. That I got a break before that happened just was the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.

Must do this again, real soon. But also need to remember to not plan to eat at the club. The food was fabulous but too expensive.

Author: Not Fainthearted

A paradox wrapped in an enigma playing the accordion. I'm a sinner-saint, child of God working at the cross-roads of church and world. A Deaconess called to connect people living near the center with people on the edge and to help your life sing (literally and figuratively) while doing it. People don't always get the deaconess part. Could be the swearing, the corporate job, or the wine.


  1. I enjoyed your Holly Cole comments! I recently saw Holly in Seattle at Jazz Alley and may be able to help you fill in some blanks. My pictures are here:http://www.pbase.com/portwelland/jazzalley
    The band members I saw were Ben Riley on drums and Marc Rogers on bass, and the amazing John Johnson. The song with the foghorn sound was:
    Tom Waite’s “Shiver Me Timbers”
    I’m leavin’ my fam’ly
    Leavin’ all my friends
    My body’s at home
    But my heart’s in the wind
    Where the clouds are like headlines
    On a new front page sky
    My tears are salt water
    And the moon’s full and high

    And I know Martin Eden’s
    Gonna be proud of me
    And many before me
    Who’ve been called by the sea
    To be up in the crow’s nest
    Singin’ my say
    Shiver me Timbers
    ‘Cause I’m a-sailin’ away

    And the fog’s liftin’
    And the sand’s shiftin’
    I’m driftin’ on out
    Ol’ Captain Ahab
    He ain’t got nothin’ on me, now.
    So swallow me, don’t follow me
    I’m trav’lin’ alone
    Blue water’s my daughter
    ‘n I’m gonna skip like a stone

    So please call my missus
    Gotta tell her not to cry
    ‘Cause my goodbye is written
    By the moon in the sky
    Hey and nobody knows me
    I can’t fathom my stayin’
    Shiver me timbers
    ‘Cause I’m a-sailin’ away

    And the fog’s liftin’
    And the sand’s shiftin’
    I’m driftin’ on out
    Ol’ Captain Ahab
    He ain’t got nothin’ on me
    So come and swallow me, follow me
    I’m trav’lin’ alone
    Blue water’s my daughter
    ‘n I’m gonna skip like a stone

    And I’m leavin’ my family
    Leavin’ all my friends
    My body’s at home
    But my heart’s in the wind
    Where the clouds are like headlines
    Upon a new front page sky
    And shiver me timbers
    ‘Cause I’m a-sailin’ away

  2. It sounds like a wonderful evening.

    churlita’s last blog post..It’s the Wrong Time

  3. Aha! The famous McKilt returns! Such a little hottie! Sounds like you had a marvelous time and I think I am a bit jealous. Go girl!

    abbagirl74’s last blog post..Good Morning!

  4. Wow. You are such a GROUPIE. I think I LOVE you, soul sister.

    Bonnie’s last blog post..Salute to Friendship

  5. Who’s McKilt?! Did I miss something?!

    I love live music, and I especially love the Lyle Lovitt song you referred to in yesterday’s post…or was it the day before? Did she sing it?

    Elizabeth’s last blog post..Plan B

  6. Thanks for the plug!!
    I am cautiously optimistic about the onset of nicer weather. I take the bus to and fro work and the not-so-cold temperatures are greatly appreciated, especially in the morning. I actually waited yesterday morning with only a coat and not gloves, scarf, skullie, and a hood. Believe, there is hope, just not complete blind faith in the weather.

    Glad you enjoyed the night out. Checking out bands/singers live is always a good time.

    evil-e’s last blog post..Lions and Tigers and SPECIES!! (oh my)