Left to right: Rene Marie, Allan Harris and Carla Cook.

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

itoggle caption Courtesy of Pat Harris

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

'Two Skirts And A Shirt' On JazzSetWBGO

Listen

Listen

Loading…

57:58
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/134827999/291985089" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

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

Corky Hale appears on the cover of her album Corky Hale Plays George Gershwin & Vernon Duke. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Corky Hale On Piano Jazz

The pioneering pianist, harpist, flutist and cellist has worked with Mel Tormé and Billie Holiday.

Listen Loading… 57:51
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/425725724/425870258" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Dwike Mitchell (left), pictured with longtime collaborator Willie Ruff. Vincent Oneppo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Vincent Oneppo/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Dwike Mitchell On Piano Jazz

The pianist joins Marian McPartland to perform "Lush Life" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me."

Listen Loading… 57:53
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/419545096/419554645" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra play an Exquisite Corpse at Woodlawn Cemetery as part of Make Music New York on June 21, 2015. Polina Yamshchikov/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov/NPR

Jazz Night In America

Jazz Lives At Duke Ellington's Resting Place

See young jazz musicians honor their elders at a cemetery that's more like a hall of fame.

Jimmy Greene. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Jimmy Greene Remembers A 'Beautiful Life'

The saxophonist's latest album honors his 6-year-old daughter, killed in the 2012 Newtown shooting.

Listen Loading… 57:25
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/418925379/418929187" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Back To Top