Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hitting the Right Note....Rita Lim

I love going to see "live" music. Especially jazz. You never know what you're going to hear, or how a song will be interpreted. Like most people I don't get out and do it enough, but I should more often because it is a gift to the heart and soul. With jazz you rarely ever hear a song just like it was originally recorded, and that is its magic.

Earlier this month with some friends I checked out jazz singer Rita Lim and some of her friends at the Mad Greek Cafe...(another unique venue here in Las Vegas).

True to the nature of jazz, Rita and her friends interpreted some well known songs in a way that was new to me such as Rainbow Connection, (which I now no longer think of as a song from the Muppets), and a melody from The Carpenters, (Close to you).. that was very different than the elevator sound of the 1970's version. I always thought Karen Carpenter had such a longing, a sadness in her voice that many didn't pick up on. Rita did.

I liked the sisterhood on display that evening. She was first joined by the talented Carol Joyce, her "sister from another mister" as she describes her. They are now good friends after meeting the first day of rehearsals singing backup for a Barbra Streisand performance. She was also joined by Bill Fayne for a duet of "Somewhere out There" again, an interpretation with poignancy and on Bill's part, grit. I'd like to thank them both for giving that song it's true "due" and getting the movie version out of my head. Stuart Schweit's rendition of "What a Wonderful World" was hauntingly beautiful, reminding us all of the joys of simple moments of happiness and wonder in between the emotional peaks and valleys of life.

"It took me many years to be honest with my performance. When I was young I often tried hard to prove myself to the world that I am somebody but now I have passed that stage and all I want  to do is to share music and interpret lyrics. My challenge as a singer is to get to the essence of my talent in time for a concert" - Rita Lim 

Later joined by Michelle Johnson and Pascale Elia, the sisterhood on display by Rita and her friends was something that effected me that night. Whether intending to or not they reminded me of how much our friends can support and lift us up. They weren't just singing together they were experiencing the one. I noticed Rita was so much more free when singing with others. Like training wheels on a bicycle. My observation is she doesn't need those training wheels to shine, but with them feels more free to express herself and tap into her true talent. One line from one of the songs she performed with her friends was..."life was a tragic joke before I met you"....haven't we all felt that way about someone at one time or another?

Rita and her friends were supported by the talented and respected musicians; Dan Ellis on Keys, Mike Michem on Drums, Fred Watstein On Bass, Pablo Gadda on Guitar.

Rita with her "Sister from a different Mister" Carol Joyce
June 5, Mad Greek Café, Las Vegas

I Wish You Love.....Rita Lim....YouTube

Where Do You Start....Rita Lim with Bill Fayne

Like her on Facebook...

What is "jazz?"......

While jazz is considered difficult to define, improvisation is consistently regarded as being one of its key elements. Summarizing the difference, pianist Earl Hines remarked in a 1975 film that,
... "when I was playing classical music I wouldn't dare get away from what I was reading. If you've noticed, all of the symphonic musicians, they have played some of those classical tunes for years but they wouldn't vary from one note—and every time they play they have to have the music. So that's why for some classical musicians, it's very difficult for them to try to learn how to play jazz."
In jazz, therefore, the skilled performer will interpret a tune in very individual ways, never playing the same composition exactly the same way twice. Depending upon the performer's mood and personal experience, interactions with other musicians, or even members of the audience, a jazz musician may alter melodies, harmonies or time signature at will.

Excerpt above from


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