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Carmen Lundy at the Vic

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Wow, the Vic is quite the hip and special place in Santa Monica. If you don’t know, now you know and if you still don’t know, then you may not find out! Why, because you must have the key, the code, the secret password in order to get access behind the eye of the beholder.

It was pretty magical because darkness surrounds the outside but, once you figure out the point of entry, you are welcomed into a wonderful world of intrigue, excitement, privilege and jazz at its finest. You are greeted by a Gorgeous Goddess named Gloria, who is so sweet and will make every effort to make your evening at the Vic a memorable one. Every corner in the place is a little nook and it is furnished with tables, chairs, love seats and chaise lounges. It is lit like a warm fire with the lights and colors beaming and surrounding you with its comforting ambiance all in a tight and cozy living room setting. It is like finding a treasure map and going on an adventure.

Well, the treasure this week, the diamond in the ruff, the ruby, the emerald, the priceless jewel was Miss Carmen Lundy! Carmen delivers when she performs and in this setting you are up close and personal. Long, sleek and beautiful are the tones as they sale though the registers and visit the mountain tops with frequent ease. Captured by her soothing melodies and crystal clear passionate voice, Carmen runs you through the gamut of emotions singing stories that speak the truth, make you laugh, make you ponder and reflect on all of the many facets of life and love. Her voice is so penetrating that the waves of sound attach themselves to your body and make you feel like it is you who are singing. She sings with and about the birds, “way up and so high above the clouds”. Soaring and scoring all 10’s! Another tune sung so wonderfully was “Nature Boy”, hauntingly dramatic and arranged with such intrigue. Each song is performed to make you think and feel. An hour set is so enrapturing that you might think that you came out of an intense 3 hour movie. When she sings a tune and screams passionately about love, everybody is drenched and not with perspiration! She gives us love and we give love in return.

This was a treat for everyone including the band of more than desirable musicians. I think that every singer would want to play with these cats. On piano, composer, arranger, master pianist and burning up the Yamaha with the biggest sound was Billy Childs. Sounding like the classic studio musician, clean and so perfect and full of the good kind of groove was Nathan East on bass. Gentle caressing touches adding sweetness to the most gorgeous chords and changes on guitar is the great Phil Upchurch. And, from the Tonight Show, jamming the little drummer boy march, the one who has the smile all up in his style, Mr. Marvin “Smitty” Smith! This is like an all-star lineup, like playing with Shaq, Kobe, Magic and Jordon all on your squad. Well, maybe Shaq and Kobe are not the best examples of cohesiveness but, you get my point. She shared personal stories about her relationship to each one of these players and their experiences with the music.

Tonight is her birthday and the whole place breaks out in the birthday song. The audience was composed of those who love this music and others who are on a jazz day pass but the energy formed a united bond which Carmen used and delivered right back to us. She wrote and sang many songs that have never been performed in public before, not a challenge for this band of prolific readers. One piece was called “Happy New Year” written to replace the tired ass song that we hear every year at the stroke of midnight. If this became the song we celebrated to, cold filtered love would be served up instead of alcohol and the world would be that much better because of it!

She has a show coming up next year on February 18th here in Los Angeles at the Madrid Theater celebrating the music and the art of Carmen Lundy! A few of the guest include Billy Childs, Bobby Watson, Steve Turre, Victor Lewis, Mark Shim, The LA String Quartet and more…. Check out the website at www.carmenlundy.com for more information!

Click here for pictures and video

LeRoy Downs

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  • Ray Slayton

    Hi LeRoy:

    Thank you for the wonderful review for Carmen and The Vic. I am sorry that I did not have the opportunity to meet you that night. Please give me a call and stop by for another one of our performances.

    BTW, Rhiannon is going to be at The Vic this coming Thursday. She is faaabbbuuullous!!!!!

    I hope to see you sometime soon.

    All the best,

    Ray