Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sara Gazarek at Jardine's
Apologies to Erin Bode and Megan Birdsall. Sara Gazarek is the best new jazz vocalist I've encountered in the last five years.
The Los Angeles-based artist's second set last night at Jardine's was breathtaking.
It's a shame Gazarek played to a nearly empty room. By my count, I was one of 19 people who paid the $15 cover. And that's only if the handful of prominent Kansas City musicians in attendance weren't comped.
The lack of an audience is especially disappointing because it's difficult to imagine anyone who wouldn't appreciate Gazarek's exquisite taste and seemingly perfect pitch. She combines old-school talent with a fresh sensibility.
Her upper register evokes a less strident Joni Mitchell. And when she hits lower notes, Gazarek resembles Karen Carpenter. Don't laugh. While Gazarek's talent could withstand direct comparisons to Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald, Gazarek is completely contemporary.
She covered Mitchell's "Carey" (here's Joni's version) and Billy Joel last night (just like this).
Gazarek was backed by her regular pianist Josh Nelson. The reliably excellent Bob Bowman and Tommy Ruskin provided sympathetic support.
The small audience aside, the only disappointment was that the second set lasted only an hour. I could have listened to Gazarek sing all night.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)