Girls Night Out on the River

Originally uploaded by V'ron.
As I knew I would, I got Stella from soccer, and we headed down to Pere Marquette Park for Milwaukee jazz supergroup The Rhythm Club. Although "jazz" supergroup is something of a misnomer. Let's call it rhythm and blues-stylized intrepretations of not only jazz, but wonderful old standards from not only the American songbook, but from all over the world.

Robin Pluer is back! Actually, she's been back awhile, but she's staying put in Milwaukee, and that's our gain. I'd forgotten just how amazingly sweet and sultry her crystal clear voice is. Highlight of that was her dedicatoin of La Vie En Rose, that wonderful French chanson, that she dedicated to her friend Holly, who was looking forward to having a baby, like, this weekend... and what a beautiful, calming way to welcome her in the world. And Pluer's amazing range (both dynamic and harmonic) really shined on that song. Almost brought me to tears.

But I'm concentrating on the lead singer, as audiences tend to do. And in this band, that's a mistake. Connie Grauer and Kim Zick, Mrs. Fun are so good you take them for granted. And Juli Wood, who I remember as Pluer's bandmate in early versions of the Milwaukeeans, wails -- not only on the sax, but she's got a smoking blues voice of her own.

I'd written earlier that this wasn't a "womyns music" band, but don't tell that to the dominantly-woman crowd who came out to see them. It wasn't annoying, though, like Lillith Fair, but more of a celebration of the varying beauty of women, all having a good time. It's as though you saw these women up on stage, having a good ol' time, not feminizing it down (as annoying "womyn's music" proponents tend to do, by taking musically purple things and watering them down to lavender), but rather feminizing the music up -- by just making that lavender stand out on it's own, and turning the purple into a shocking magenta. Stella played with other kids for most of the night, until she came up close for the end and realized how great this band was. I'm starting to wonder with all the stuff I've exposed her to, she takes great music for granted. Still, we weren't the only mother-daughter date tonight, and she told me all the way home just how much fun she had, just hanging out with the instant girlfriends, seeing a good fun band (that wasn't too loud!) and enjoying a gorgeous summer night out with her mom. Precious. I hummed "La Vie En Rose" all the way home to myself.


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