We were recommended to perform for a Kidney Walk on a brisk November morning. I was a bit unsettled because I’d gotten the phone call we all dread: Someone had passed away.
My long time best friend, Keith, had lost his battle with cancer. I was devastated, but, I knew he’d want me to carry on, and do the gig. I was glad my oldest friend, Steve, was visiting Nashville that weekend. It was good to have someone to talk to and maybe distract me from the sad news.
As we were setting up the band’s gear, there were a lot of people milling about, ready to walk around the park, where the event was held. As the crowd began to thin, I realized our audience would be dispersing to walk, and we’d have a lot smaller audience. I joked with Steve, that this is how my gigs go: There’s more folks there while we set up, then when we actually play music.
Even though the temperature was in the 40s, I took off my jacket to sing. The band kidded me about it, but, I said “Everybody has cameras. ” I didn’t want to appear wimpy or diva-ish. The set went well: people smiling, a few kids dancing and singing along, one child was “flossing,” which is the latest dance craze.
As we closed out our set, with the usual “Boomerang Orangutan,” I exhorted the horns to outline the chords I was playing. Sometimes they forget. During the catchy three-chord chorus, they began to play this melody with a Latin lilt to it. This inspired Pat, the drummer, to add some cymbal flourishes in the Latin style.
We finished, smiling, as I asked them how they came up with that melody. As it turns out, they had a jazz gig that evening, and Josh’s (the trombonist) “tablet” had a Sonny Rollins tune for the next chart. They transposed it, on the fly, to the key of my song, and played it behind my chorus!
I giggled about that for days. I love working with creative musicians that bring something new to my songs (I sing and play them the same way, most of the time). Needless to say, it’ll be a regular part chart for the next gig!
I found out later that the wife of a bass player I know, had recommended us for the gig. It meant a lot to me, that someone liked my music enough to hire us. They’ve never had live music at this event. Very cool!