When jazz club doors close, sometimes other doors open. There’s a literal cottage industry cropping up, as people are opening their homes to fellow jazz lovers, charging a fee to pay musicians to perform and serving refreshments in a cozy atmosphere. If there is such a group in your area, get on their mailing list – they’re usually private and space is limited. Or, host one yourself.
One of my favorite vocalists, Paul Jost, emailed me about a gig of his on a December Sunday afternoon not far from where I live. The cost was a reasonable $50 each, which included the music, appetizers, wine and the comfort of someone’s living room. Granted, it was a fairly big space, accommodating about 25 people and the Dean Johnson Quartet comfortably, including Jim Ridl on piano, Johnson on bass and Tim Horner on drums
Paul is an amazing vocalist who also plays harmonica and drums. He swings through tunes with an innovative scat language all his own and enhances tunes with percussive tricks drawn from his cuffs or some other magical place. He announces that the next tune he’ll sing is one of his favorites and laughs, “They all are.” You know that’s true by the way he lets each tune sink in before attempting another, as if he is collecting his emotions from where they’ve spilled and calling them back in an orderly fashion so they are available for the next. That’s as true of the traditional American folk song “Shenandoah” as it is of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’,” also known as the theme from the movie Midnight Cowboy.
Jost has also written a great deal of music, including “Livin’ in the Wrong Time,” part of the afternoon’s repertoire. As he sings, his right hand often forms a loose fist, which he taps rhythmically on his chest, resembling a beating heart that cannot be contained. “Wrong Time” will be included on his new CD, Simple Life, due out in March 2019, along with standards like “Caravan” and contemporary tunes like “Girl from the North Country” and features special guest Joe Locke on vibraphone. Check him out at: www.pauljostmusic.com
Photo of Paul Jost by Chris Drukker