Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

The Real Deal. April 2, 2013

What would life be without music? And more importantly, with live music. It’s like talking with someone you really like over Facebook, Email, Text, Phone – verses in person… SO much better.

I dropped by Sheba Lounge, in the jazz district on Fillmore Street last week. I wanted to catch the last set of Jesse Foster Trio with Jesse Foster on vocals, Grant Levin on piano and Pierre Archain on bass.

Jesse Foster is a singer, songwriter and percussionist extraordinaire, with an original composition and arranging style which conveys deep and personal messages through songs crossing a wide range of musical genres.

Although Jesse has worked with and been influenced by many renowned artists, he credits the body of works by master artists like Wes Montgomery, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Smokey Robinson, David Ruffin, Nat “King” Cole and Miles Davis for having a profound impact on his concepts, musical direction and career.

Talking with Grant afterwards, he said: “I love playing with Jesse. He is the real deal. I love his artistry.” Grant himself is a humble great talent who in this case (below) manages to play perfectly on a piano that is out of tune – yes – you just gotta avoid certain keys… And Pierre, is a cheerful solid bass player.

I’d like to call them my guys. Jesse was my vocal coach for a period of time when I first moved to San Francisco. When hearing his students with whom I did the performance workshop at the time, today, I wish I had continued… Grant is my pianist. It’s so new, so it is even a little unreal to write it – but I have a pianist! 🙂 And he is awesome! And Pierre – he played bass in the quartet that I performed with at what is now called… Tipsy Pigg!  Yes, it was a music bar/restaurant at the time on Chestnut in the Marina. Today, it is mostly tipsy…

Anyway. Here is cheers for the real deal, and for Jesse Foster and musicians, bringing the live jazz back to Lower Haight in San Francisco! (See below!) What a…. LOVELY DAY!

Enjoy,

Johanna

And yes – the recording is very dark. You gotta come and visit live!
Bi-monthly Jazz sessions at Two Jacks Niks Place – 401 Haight and Webster.
7pm – 9.30pm: Jesse Foster trio with Grant Levin on keys Adam Gay on bass and Mark Lee on drums – and guest artists of accomplished musicians from the Bay Area.

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Toast for Spontaneity! November 21, 2009

I so wish I had had a camera to capture the moment… I just came home from an excellent brunch at Pamelo, a small cozy place in Noe Valley. Accompanied by Fran and Zack.

Fran I know through four different connections. She showed up at my a cappella groups concert because she knew one of the singing group members, she came with a colleague of mine and recognized me from the Nia class. Most recently I met her when she was performing in a singing workshop that I also did a couple of years ago. The world is very small. Apropos spontaneity and singing – without getting to far out from the story line – the singing workshop we both did was led by jazz, R&B and soul singer Jesse Foster. The concept is very cool – you work with Jesse as a vocal coach in individual sessions and four Sunday afternoons in a row you perform with his band at  Rasselas Jazzclub on Fillmore in the jazz district together with other vocal students of his. Prepared in the sense that you have chosen and worked on the songs to sing, spontaneous in the sense that there is no practice with the band ahead of time. You just do it. And it is fun! So talented musicians, wonderful people, supportive audience. Safe. I can warmly recommend it!  (Check out the links if you are interested to step out of the shower singing stage and do the same!) Soon you will see Fran on the music scene in San Francisco.

Zack is a multi doer. I participated in one of his first Nia classes at Dance Mission when I was just about to move to San Francisco. The theme was “Transition” – how appropriate. Today he had another excellent class – the fact that he is also an actor and brings in that spontaneous playfulness in the room makes it a lot of fun. And so to the story… towards the end of the brunch today he suddenly reaches for the spoon in my cafe latte, takes his water glass, clinks the glass while standing up. The murmur in the room stops and he has full attention: “I just want to toast for spontaneity!” he says with a steady voice and a big smile and raises the glass. Facing the wall, I’m turning around and every face in the room cracks up to a big smile and a common toast, laughter and joy.  There are many ways you can show up in life. Such a small gesture – such a great impact.

The sense of joy created in the room reminded me of the sense of joy created by the movie Validation (below). Take a moment to watch it – get inspiration and share the beauty! Who can you make smile today?

Zack and Fran, you are awesome!
Cheers,

Johanna

 

 
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