Monday, January 11, 2010

Etta Jones




I'd heard Etta a few times over the years on the radio but did not come to full appreciate the beauty and power of her soulful voice until one late night outside Philly. It was the night of a daughter's college graduation and we'd left my son's sweater at the restaurant. It was a ten minute drive but when I found a jazz station on FM and heard the first cut of Etta's Don't Go to Stranger's LP--"Yes Sir, That's My Baby"--I got lost.

Lost in the music.
Lost in the era of the music--very early 1960's.
And lost on the highway.

Ended up somewhere in North Philly.
Then across the city to the Betsy Ross Bridge.

"Don't Go to Strangers," "I Love Paris," "Fine and Mellow."
It was getting toward 10:00 and I was afraid the restaurant would close on me. Finally, a DJ came on to sing his praises of Etta and I pulled over and called the restaurant for directions. A police officer stopped behind me and came up to the window. I guess I was still feeling "Fine and Mellow" because he asked how much I'd had to drink.

Nothing--except for the sounds coming out of that radio: "Where or When," "If I had You," "On the Street Where You Live," "Bye Bye Blackbird..."

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