Sweet Baby J’ai is a widely acclaimed jazz, blues and torch singer who puts over 100% into each song she sings. September 16th at Crowne Plaza LAX was no exception! Merle Kreibich did all the emcee duties, introducing the band and then Sweet Baby J’ai. It is a pleasure to sit in the audience and watch a true show person such as Baby J’ai work, putting an active, moving set together.
The band played wonderfully well and was made up of Jane Getz (piano), Chris Conner (bass) and Peter Buck (drums). The trio began with the classic “Stella by Starlight” and was very together musically. Getz’s chords and piano lines were the best. Conner played a mean bass solo that shined. Buck included a novel solo chorus or two and shared some 4 and 8-bar breaks with Conner and Getz.
Sweet Baby J’ai’s first number was the blues tune, “Never Make Your Move Too Soon,” that got the house audience rocking and feeling the music. She introduced each player between some of the numbers, starting with Getz. She talked of how Getz was a child prodigy at age three, beginning with classical training, but fell into jazz at thirteen with her parents’ support. J’ai sang “World is a Ghetto,” a tune that rocked well, and she performed some amazing scatting toward its end, polishing off the ending with drummer Buck in a tremendous coordinated rhythmic conclusion that the audience just loved.
Next J’ai spoke about bassist Conner, who she said “holds it all down.” He did just that on the next two tunes, “I Could Write A Book” and a bass start line for “Amazing Grace” (a very free and jazzy arrangement of Baby J’ai’s). Getz and Buck followed in supremely well.
J’ai introduced Buck and talked about all his drumming and other musical activities. Then they played a J’ai favorite, “That’s All.” J’ai’s voice is clear, distinctive and convincing to any audience. They did this number in up tempo and Buck provided spectacular accents throughout for this special show piece. The nice, pretty ballad, “Wish I Could,” followed, bringing peaceful resolve to the audience. For last song of the set, J’ai not only had the house rocking again, but got audience involvement for a well-known fun tune, “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On.” The fans were ecstatic!
See Sweet Baby J’ai’s website: www.sweetbabyjai.com and www.in-housemusic.com.
Reprinted with permission from L.A. Jazz Scene October, 2010 issue.