Saturday, December 17, 2005
Last evening I visited downtown St. Paul, Minnesota for a production at the Fitzgerald Theatre which was re-named for author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, in 1994 but originally it was the Shubert Theatre when it was built in 1910 -- http://fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org/
The evening started with dinner at the LoTo restaurant (and deli, coffee house, and lounge -- a one stop shop for food and drink!) , http://www.lo-to.com/. LoTo has a modern decor and an excellent view of Mears Park from its location in Galtier Plaza. The "Lo To House" starter salad was a bit bland for me but the tortilla chicken soup was excellent. For my main I had their Hawaiian thin crust pizza which was very good. Our waiter, "Scooter", was friendly and attentive so he earned the tip! I enjoyed the ambiance, location, and the meal so I will award them a "3" rating.
After dinner we saw the Fitzgerald Theatre presentation of "The Christmas Voice of Jazz" which included this collection of artists:
Bruce A. Henry -- a rather talented singer who trained at the Chicago Conservatory of Music who served as the host for the evening
Debbie Duncan -- raised in Detroit Ms. Duncan is a very accomplished singer with a "strong love of folk, classical, and gospel" along with her jazz performances. My date and I agreed that Ms. Duncan was the best part of the show. She reminded me of a Koko Taylor, the "Queen of the Blues" , but with a better wardrobe :)
Gwen Matthews -- jazz singer who shared her love of life with the audience but was overshadowed a bit by Ms. Duncan's talent.
Modd Squad -- a four member singing group of 2 men and 2 women that primarily served as back up/complementary singers to Henry, Duncan, and Matthews. Their best feature was the "Christmas rap" by "Alejandro" (one of the group's members) who was a clean cut, Latino, church going version of Eminem :) This group obviously had quality voices but they felt a bit out of place and underutilized.
Wild Horses Run Free (WHRF) -- I wasn't certain but Mr. Henry said the name of the band (what he calls them at least) is "Wild Horses Run Free" consisting of winds, percussion, keyboard/piano, and bass. WHRF has a great sound and versatile musicians.
Break it down everyone , ( http://www.allaboutjazz.com/speak.htm)