Left to right: Rene Marie, Allan Harris and Carla Cook. Courtesy of Pat Harris hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Pat Harris

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

'Two Skirts And A Shirt' On JazzSetWBGO

'Two Skirts And A Shirt' On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/134827999/291985089" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

After a sweetly harmonized "Tryin' Times" from 1970 by Donny Hathaway and a rocking version of "Compared to What" by Gene McDaniels ("The president, he got his war / Folks don't know just what it's for"), Rene Marie pauses to ask two questions: "Do you remember when it was not unusual for jazz composers to write about social issues? What happened?" There's a pause, and then Carla Cook says off-mic, "The '80s." The audience hears her and laughs. Rene Marie continues with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

From the KC Jazz Club in Washington, D.C., this is only the second performance ever by the group, though you'd never know it. Extraordinary back-up comes from Eric Gunnison on piano, Mark Simon on bass and Paul Romaine on drums — all from Denver, the city where they performed for the first time at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

"Two Skirts and a Shirt" is a clever Marie original to open the show. The inspirational "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down" is by bluesman Eric Bibb. Moving along, every voice gets a solo feature. Cook — the alto — chooses "Strong Man" by Oscar Brown Jr., best known from the Abbey Lincoln recording. Allan Harris' original is the romantic "Can't Live My Life Without You."

The rest of this set is a sweet vocal showcase — three-part harmonies are fresh and hard to find in contemporary jazz — so here's a chance to enjoy it.

SETLIST

  • "Two Skirts and a Shirt" (Rene Marie)
  • "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirits Down" (Eric Bibb)
  • "Strong Man" (Oscar Brown Jr.)
  • "These Are Tryin' Times" (Donnie Hathaway)
  • "Compared to What" (Gene McDaniel)
  • "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen)
  • "Can't Live My Life Without You" (Allan Harris)
  • "Bye Bye Blackbird" (Henderson, Dixon)
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Loston Harris. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Loston Harris On Piano Jazz

The singer and pianist performs "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me" with host Marian McPartland.

Loston Harris On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/507397417/507539522" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

André Previn. Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon hide caption

toggle caption Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

André Previn On Piano Jazz

The conductor, composer and pianist plays a special treatment of "Stormy Weather" in a 1990 session.

André Previn On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/506487969/506720784" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Patti Wicks. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Patti Wicks On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist and singer join Marian McPartland for a duet version of "Body And Soul."

Patti Wicks On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/505874280/505875288" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Grover Washington, Jr. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Grover Washington, Jr. On Piano Jazz

The Grammy-winning saxophonist plays Duke Ellington standards with host Marian McPartland in 1994.

Grover Washington, Jr. On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504956273/504956800" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Meredith D'Ambrosio appears on the cover of her 1981 album Another Time. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

The vocalist, pianist, visual artist and teacher joined Marian McPartland in 1994.

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504133599/504135813" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lonnie Liston Smith on the cover of Astral Traveling (1973). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Lonnie Liston Smith On Piano Jazz

One of contemporary music's most versatile keyboardists, Smith joined Marian McPartland in 2002.

Lonnie Liston Smith In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/503335536/503336370" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nellie Lutcher. William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist and pianist play her original tunes "Hurry On Down" and "Real Gone Guy."

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/502487319/502603441" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top