Posted on June 20, 2018 at 5:04 pm

There are always surprises at these concerts, but sometimes the person who is the most surprised is me. In this case, I was caught delightedly off-guard by the juxtaposition of three masterful performers: a resplendently gifted jazz singer/saxophonist – a fearlessly theatrical and relentlessly inquisitive chanteuse – and an endlessly versatile R&B singer and Broadway diva.

I hadn’t met Camille Thurman before the afternoon rehearsal, but we immediately got into some serious music-making.  Months before, she’d been highly recommended to me as a saxophonist for a different concert, and when I went to her website, I fell head over heels in love with her talent, not just as a wildly inventive tenor player, but as a magnificent singer, a young musician with seemingly boundless technique and visceral joy in every note.  When she showed up at rehearsal, the boys in the band and I were all promptly intimidated by her nonchalant mastery of both of her instruments, and then we responded by diving into the challenge.  I’m not sure we kept up with her, but we pushed as hard as we could and we had a fantastic time doing it.  I can’t wait for more collaborations with Camille, who is also a wonderful writer.

I’ve known Frances Ruffelle for a long time; we did several concerts together in London in 2004, and have been looking for a good reason to have a reunion.  This was the perfect opportunity, with Frankie offering several songs from her new show of Parisian-inspired alt-cabaret and interspersing a devastating “Still Hurting.” Nobody is braver onstage, and nobody is more fun to play with.

And what can I say about Shoshana Bean that I haven’t said already?  She happened to be in town rehearsing for our revival of Songs for a New World at City Center, so I asked her to come along and be the cherry on this fantastic musical sundae. Not only did she preview her glorious “Stars and the Moon,” she also sang my very favorite song from her new album Spectrum, which is one of my favorite albums of the year.

And I premiered a new song for The Connector, I played hardcore bebop and gospel and rock and blues with my favorite musicians in the world, and I got to dance with my daughter during “Caravan of Angels,” so it was really a perfect night.

When I’m Gone
from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
Hallowed Ground from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
CAMILLE: Easy To Love (music and lyric by Cole Porter, 1936; arr. Thurman)
CAMILLE: Pretty Music from Parade (1998; new lyrics 2007)
CAMILLE: Detour Ahead (music and lyric by Herb Ellis, John Frigo and Lou Carter, 1947; arr. Thurman)
CAMILLE: Our Day Will Come (music and lyric by Mort Garson and Bob Hilliard, 1962; arr. Thurman)
All Things In Time from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
à l’amour (music and lyric by Edith Piaf and Marguerite Monnot, 1949; arr. Barber)
FRANCES: Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (music and lyric by Sonny Bono, 1966; arr. Barber)
FRANCES: Still Hurting from The Last Five Years (2002)
FRANCES: Gotta Move (music and lyric by Peter Matz, 1963; arr. Barber)
Now What from The Connector (2018) (premiere)
SHOSHANA: Cassandra from The Connector (2018)
SHOSHANA: Stars and the Moon from Songs for a New World (1995)
SHOSHANA: All To Me (music and lyric by Shoshana Bean, from Spectrum, 2017)
Caravan of Angels from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Melinda from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Invisible from How We React and How We Recover (2o18)

Shoshana Bean: vocals
Frances Ruffelle: vocals
Camille Thurman: vocals, tenor sax
JRB: piano, vocals
Todd Reynolds: violin
Randy Landau: bass
Gary Sieger: guitar
Jamie Eblen: drums