more sophisticated ways to relax
Kadderly and the Yat Sing Music Club
jazz and traditional Chinese music really aren't that far apart.
Depending upon one's outlook, these two disparate music types might
seem to serve identical purposes, and today only a few short blocks
Consider the hapless couple, back in big, raging Portland-town
after two solid weeks in the coastal countryside, hiking and reading
books by the fire. Reality is much more simple when your biggest
concern is which of three new books to read first.
But they must eventually come home, and then a deadline looms,
and they have to battle Sunday traffic (Sunday?!) to find
music to write about. After an extensive battle with a parking spot
and some senior citizens in a white Cadillac, my wife and I stagger
to the sidewalk, winding up in front of the Yat Sing Music Club
and becalmed: Mary Kadderly follows 15 minutes of spacing out
with the Yat Sing Music Club.
Entrancing, alien tones emanate from the open door, through which
we see a few older gentlemen playing weird instruments. My wife
asks if we can listen, and a nice lady invites us in.
Wood paneling, fluorescent lights and Chinese holiday banners form
the Elks-club-circa-1970 vibe that permeates the group's rehearsal
The hypnotic music they play predates their space by a few centuries.
They play their tune with exotic stringed instruments (bowed and
plucked), wood blocks, tiny gongs, plaintive vocals and saxophone
and all done by five older guys with serious musical skills,
as shown by the fact that they're all reading complicated charts
After 15 minutes of spacing out with the Yat Sing, we feel much
calmer. The song finally ends, we clap, and the lady thanks us for
listening. I ask if we can listen to another tune. "Thank you,"
She says "thank you" again when I ask a second time,
so we leave feeling quite enriched and becalmed, however,
by the experience.
and disarming: Kadderly mixes sweet and sardonic in a delicious
We're really on the way to see Mary Margaret Kadderly playing cleanup
at the "free concert" capping off the Race For The Cure
breast cancer benefit at Portland's Saturday Market.
The words "free" and "concert," without a famous
name attached to them, generally describe events like today's; the
music is in public, people drift through eating taco salads listening
to a song or two, and the performers are loose.
Which is great, of course especially with Kadderly, Portland's
retort to Diana Krall.
In person, Kadderly is affable and goofy enough; you can imagine
her chewing tobacco and talking sports with the guys. Put a keyboard
in front of her at a nothing-to-lose gig such as this and witness
the quiet storm, sassy and soooo smooooth. Her stage patter mixes
sweet and sardonic in a delicious way, her cues to Gary the guitarist
are broad. It's unpretentious, professional fun.
Kadderly, in black blazer, white T-shirt, dark glasses and adidas
running pants, sits bobbing her head to the beat. A young Rosemary
Clooney meets Miami Vice, perhaps.
Her casual attitude is charming and disarming. While playing her
Korg keyboard with a nice buttery tone, Kadderly's jazzy chord changes
and definitive low-end phrases are forced into the background by
her really beautiful voice.
zoom: Click to visit Kadderly's Web site, and for a closer look
at her 1999 release of original material.
Even when cooing suave, airy treats marveling at what she
found on her "Love Reconnaissance," for instance
her sultry range and perfect phrasing transcend the experience.
Another exaggerated cue signals the onset of a short-but-sweet
guitar solo, and the calm fully settles over us. What a beautiful
setup, ancient Chinese meditation music, then going zoom to the
soulful jazz vocals of Mary Kadderly, who should be playing rooftop
bars for the elite of World Society.
The city knows it has a stress problem; luckily, its people rise
to the challenge, coming up with ever more sophisticated ways to