Saturday, September 23, 2006
That 's Amore
Friday night Monica and I took my nephew Nolen and his wife Aisha out to Jay's Amore Ristorante & Lounge for dinner and to hear Chicago singer Nan Mason. We have seen Nan many times but it was a first for these young people.
Nan virgins, God help them. I say that because you never know what will happen when you go see this woman. Besides being one of the best singers I have ever heard, she is also ridiculously funny.
I wrote about Nan Mason once before regarding the Chicago Sings for New Orleans benefit for hurricane Katrina effected musicians. Although Monica and I have seen Nan many times accompanied by pianist Russ Long, Friday night was the first time we've seen her accompanied by her husband Terry "Horn Boy" Higgins. No brass or woodwinds this time, but accomplished musician Terry played piano and keyboard to a host of songs we'd never heard Nan perform before. It was quite a treat.
We love it when she does cabaret, Broadway musical type songs but Friday night she included more pop, R&B and rock. At one point I swear I was reminded of Melissa Ethridge. This woman can sing any song in any genre and make it her own. She interacted with and teased the audience and since we were down front we were prime targets especially my nephew. He loved it.
We knew that this was not Nolen and Aisha's usual night out type entertainment but also that they are music lovers and would like Nan Mason. They did, very much! Nan rocked several Stevie Wonder songs, Nolen loved that and Terry played "Isn't She Lovely" not knowing Aisha was actually named from that song. Of course Nan threw the attention at Aisha when we told her and Terry sang a verse he called the Snoop Dog version. These two are nuts.
Terry sang a touching love song to his wife called "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman". OMG! Well, his woman is something else!
Nan does define, Broad, Diva, Sophistication, Sweet and Cool.
I mean whether she's belting out her signature song "This Is My Life", or Quincy Jones' sassy, sexy, "Sister" or the sultry classic "Georgia" or Stevie's "Another Star" or a fantastic pumping version of Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" she is all of that and a piece of that decadent chocolate cake we had during the show.
Speaking of the cake, it was excellent. Chocolate to the 'nth degree but not overpoweringly sickenly sweet. Or as my nephew said, "ambrosius"! The cake was indicative of the food at Jay's Amore. We came early for dinner although you can eat while enjoying the show. We all ordered something different and did some sampling. All Good!
I like Italian! I like pasta and the sauces and the spices. I know Americanized chain restaraunt Italian food from authentic but I don't care for food that is so "authentic" it's bland. At Jay's you can taste the freshness of the pasta and ingrediants, and the spices are bright without being overwhelming. Jay's is the real thing, not Americanized type flavor and not bland. Very flavorful-fresh and delicious.
So it was a good night, catching up with Nan at the break and being teased and entertained during the show and the tasty food, laid back comfortable atmosphere and great service at Jay's. Yummy combination.
Nan Mason and Terry Higgins will be at Jay's Amore Ristorante & Lounge
September 29-30th and again in October.
Check www.nanmason.com for show and CD info.
1330 W. Madison
Go to www.jaysamorechicagocom for menu and info.