Lady Mem'fis -Jazz and Blues Singer Deluxe
"[Lady Mem'fis] stood steadfast, threw back her head and belted out Jazz and the Blues. Struttin' on the pavement, swank and slinky, going uptown and downtown . . . She had a voice like a coronet."
Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle
Sometimes a description of style and place serves well to deliver the essence of a performer. That's how we feel about Jon Carroll's description of the wonderful Lady Mem'fis. But the facts of Lady Mem'fis' life help paint the picture, too. She began singing as a child in Baton Rouge, gained early success on the coursing New Orleans R&B scene of the early 60s, and put down roots in the explosive San Francisco jazz scene of the late 60s. Falling victim to the ebb tide of jazz in the disco era, Lady Mem'fis gained a resurgence in the late 80's that she's been riding ever since.
Most important of all, of course, Lady Mem'fis is blessed with a beautiful voice. She sings with depth, soul and swing, and with a style that resonates back through her deep Southern roots with every note.
Reviewer Jack Bowers put it well, while reviewing Lady Mem'fis' CD Expressions of a Legacy for All About Jazz:
"Lady sings with honest emotion, not to mention a sizable measure of talent. One senses that she not only understands the lyrics to the songs she sings but empathizes with them as well, so visibly honest is the impression of heartache and yearning on, say, Willie Nelson's "Crazy," Lennon / McCartney's "And I Love Him" or Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You." . . At her core the Lady's a blues singer, as she affirms on "It's Alright" and Miles Davis' "All Blues," but she's no less engaging when reprising torch songs. . . Stylistically, there are occasional nods to Billie, Dinah and others, but Lady Mem'fis has a special persona of her own, built on tradition but thoughtfully framed and deeply personal."
Lady Mem'fis herself gives us the secret of her style on the liner notes to Expressions of a Legacy.
"As I sang certain songs," she writes, "I could smell and taste the red clay dirt from back home . . . I saw all the people in the neighborhood - the ragman, watermelon man, gambling man and, yes, the preacher man. I saw big families, little familes and ladies walking under the hot sun with beautiful umbrellas. I reached back and retrieved those feelings, thoughts, smells [and] colors . . .I thought of all the heartache, pain, joy and laughter of those who came before me and paved a way so that my travels might be a bit easier. I thank heaven for them."
Jazz at Pearl's
256 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|