You may have not heard about Eddie Jefferson. He was a idol in the 60s and 70s, an exquisite vocalist, but is almost forgotten nowadays. A moving in-between songs story told by Carla Cook during her concert in Tel Aviv brought him to my attention. A story about a teenager girl in Detroit, listening to a jazz radio station where Eddie, one of these musicians who could play the rich and solid classic jazz repertoire was a star, hearing that he comes in town and begging her parents to allow her to go and listen to him in a club, getting permission and getting little sleep for the night because of the emotion, waking up at morning with the news that Jefferson was killed that night and she will never listen to him live. That event happened exactly 31 years ago day by day. Now, Carla Cook tells this story at many concerts, and Jefferson lives in memory and gets to be known to people around the world because of her.

(video source routzi)

The direct style and the sincere interaction with the audience are the principal qualities of Carla Cook. Born in Detroit, she is a friend and sometimes works with violinist Regina Carter with whom she shared the dream to become a jazz musician since childhood. Nowadays beyond being a performer she also teaches jazz, and one of the funniest and nicest moments of the evening was the rendition of a standard in the style of her seven years old pupils (‘they really swing!’). Maybe she has not a great voice or the allure of a diva, but her sincerity, her joy in singing and sharing the emotions conquers the audience. The name of her last album (from 2002!) ‘Simply Natural’ describe quite well what she is about.

(video source deecharming)

The program on Friday night (part of the Tel Aviv Museum Hot Jazz series) was mostly based on standards, and on lesser known songs of well known musicians that Carla loves to discover and bring back to the attention of the public. An old and little known Duke Ellington song was maybe the best of the evening. Out of the Israeli band pianist Nitai Herkowitz was the best, close to the singer, attentive and sensitive to her parts, with refined and interesting solos. Saxophonist Erez Bar-Noy had a few moments of quality, but his style closer to free jazz is not that fit with what Carla Cook does. Asaf Hachimi at bass was correct, and Shy Zalman, as many times could not refrain from being too loud and too extrovert, which sometimes is good, not always is needed.

(video source buddhaboogie)

Carla Cook’s website is http://www.carlacook.com/