Friday, December 30, 2011

Robert Schoen Quartet: Memorable Memories

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing Catherine DeCuir sing 21 beautiful songs accompanied by Robert Schoen's Jazz trio. I have known Ms. DeCuir and heard her fine voice for many years, but finally she's in the perfect setting to highlight her considerable talents.

The highly skilled band, which played a few numbers on their own to give Ms. DeCuir a break about 2/3 of the way through the two-hour set, is led by Robert Schoen on keyboard with Jamie Dowd on bass and John Remenarich holding down the drum duties. These guys obviously have been around and know their stuff. Photo, left to right: Schoen, DeCuir, Remenarich, Dowd.

Ms. DeCuir adds a powerful vocal element that, if you squint and ignore your cell phone, would put you right into the past. She sang 21 songs ranging from I've Got Rhythm (Gershwin) to Under the Boardwalk (classic Motown). She sang just as well in Spanish and in French ("La Vie en Rose") as she did in English. She also sang in Portuguese for two Brazilian songs ("Mas Que Nada" and "Tristeza"). It was heaven.

This all took place in a warm and friendly Thai restaurant, Saysetha, on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland near the Berkeley border. My spicy chicken with cashews went well with a nice Singha Thai beer.

The music ended too soon, but you can hear the quartet at Saysetha almost every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.


Anonymous said...

Robert Schoen...

Is the Jamie Dowd who plays bass in your ensemble the same Jamie Dowd who attended Georgetown University?

If so, please convey my best wishes to him and express my thanks for his great musical influence on my direction in music.

George Cisneros

Steve Schaefer said...

George, I'll pass this on to Robert and find out for you.