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Jazz Duo Provides Exceptional Performance at the Uphams Corner Branch Library

Jazz Duo Brandi Maxam and Logan WrightJazz as a musical style originated in the black communities of the southern part of the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.  A melding of African and European music traditions created the sounds of jazz.  Improvisation and flirting with the blues are some of its best known characteristics.  From a jazz singer, you can expect original and surprising interpretations of well-known music.

Indeed the Jazz singer Brandi Maxam of the The Brandi Maxam & Logan Wright Jazz Duo gets asked about her heritage frequently.  With her jet black wavy hair and light skin, she is both interesting in her appearance and very attractive.  She enjoys talking about her own unique heritage - a "jazzy" background of ¼ black and ¾ mixed European ancestries, not unlike the formation of jazz itself.

Jazz Standards and More

At the Uphams Corner Branch Library on Thursday, August 16, 2012, the Jazz Duo delivered engaging renditions of traditional jazz standards  including Duke Ellington's "Caravan."  "Dream a Little Dream of Me" is a well known favorite recorded by Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald and Mama Cass.  Brandi’s style reflects the sounds of Sissel in her ‘Gift of Love’ album – slow and full bodied.

"Crazy, he calls Me," by Carl Sigman / Bob Russell and made popular by Billie Holliday, has a fascinating verse structure consistent with the theme of "crazy in love."  I say xxx and I will xxx if HE wants it that way.  And his response?  He calls me "crazy."  Sure, I say.  "I’m crazy all right.  Crazy in love I am."

I say I'll move the mountains
And I'll move the mountains
If he wants them out of the way
Crazy he calls me
Sure, I'm crazy
Crazy in love, I say

Brandi’s command of the words and music transformed her into that woman, so deeply in love and "crazy" in love.  We couldn’t get enough – the song ended too quickly.

This was followed by "'Deed I Do," a 1926 jazz standard composed by Fred Rose with lyrics by Walter Hirsch.

Do I want you?
Oh my! Do I!
Honey, deed I do!

Do I need you?
Oh my! Do I!
Honey, deed I do!

Wonderful Rapport with the Audience

One of the most endearing experiences of the evening was how readily the duo established an easy-going and friendly rapport with the audience.  Music lovers they were and Brandi was most willing to accommodate requests.  While Pete Seeger’s "Where have all the Flowers Gone" is not one of their regulars, Brandi sang and Logan played flawlessly.

Adele’s "Someone Like You" was the first opportunity for the duo to each express their musical talents.  All songs prior were presented as singer (primary) and guitar accompanist.  "Someone like you" gave Logan a chance to demonstrate his prowess on the guitar with delicate picking during the vocal interludes and the full sound of guitar chords and strumming as an instrument equal to Brandi’s voice.  The energy the "duo" generated was imbued with the strength of wild stallions running free.  The audience broke out in cheers.

I heard that you're settled down
That you found a girl and you're married now
I heard that your dreams came true
Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you
Old friend, why are you so shy?
Ain't like you to hold back or hide from the light

House of the Rising Sun

Jazz Duo Brandi Maxam and Logan Wright The House of the Rising Sun is a favorite with so many listeners.  It is a melancholy and plaintive song sung by a man condemned to his gambling habits and forever addicted to returning to that house of ruin.  Originally sung by the Animals, Brandi and Logan deliver the song much more slowly and take full advantage of adding "blue notes" and exploratory improvisation that helps to underscore the strength of the song.  Truly excellent performance.

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

Closing Songs

As their performance time was drawing to a close, the Duo chose to sing Flaming Lips’ "Do you Realize?" An Oklahoma psychedelic alternative rock band from the ‘80’s, the band has created a song with a strong message:  "Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?" 

Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize we're floating in space?
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?

Well done and confirming the wide range of musical styles this "jazz" duo has to offer, yet it was hardly the song to send the audience "off" for the night.

Indeed, as a closer, they chose a rousing version of a song made famous by Louis Armstrong, "When you’re Smiling."  Jazz Duo Brandi Maxam and Logan Wright

When you're smilin' keep on smilin'
The whole world smiles with you
And when you're laughin' oh when youre laughin'
The sun comes shinin' through

An Event to Remember - More to Come

Great ending to a terrific music gig at the Uphams Corner Branch Library. A Great Evening for Uphams Corner.

Throughout the performance, Maxam’s voice ranged from lighthearted and coyly playful to the strength of a jazz power house singer, all with an underscoring of blues.  Ms. Maxam is also a member of two other bands including Adagio Big Band and recently performed in the Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival on August 11, 2012. 

Mr. Wright is an already accomplished composer entering the Tufts University Masters Program in the fall.

According to Head Librarian, Georgia Titonis, "We actually had a pretty good turnout for the program.  People did not stay for the entire evening but around 30 people stopped to listen for a while.  The next evening program for adults will be on Thursday, September 20 at 5:30.  We will have a program on urban gardening."

Uphams Corner News looks forward to more events at the Uphams Corner Library and we thank the staff for making this evening possible. 

Posted: August 16, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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