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"Ivory Song at Oak Park Arms"

too bad the recent performances of IVORY SONG have not been recorded or video-taped – at least as far as I know. Their September Cole Porter evening at the Oak Park Arms in Oak Park, Illinois was not only memorable, but mesmerizingly outstanding. What a pity that this kind of entertainment fare did not land in posh hotels or theater restaurants in Chicago! But perhaps the venue they chose was the perfect venue: all residents of the place and their friends and a few “outsiders” gave the duo the accolades they deserve. Plus, there is much wisdom in playing for these crowds for whom music, more than anything else, is therapeutic and cathartic. That they were led to dancing and singing along are extras. Kudos to Desi Vasquez for organizing such events. The Cole Porter evening was too short for an hour – or so did many feel. But Ivory Song picked the songs that really matter, that drew tears from those driven down memory lane, and that evoked some humor as well.

Well, last night’s Gershwin tribute was even more compelling. After the duo’s rendition of Rhapsody in Blue, the standing ovation that ensued was just in order. Peñera’s arrangements of not only that number but of all the numbers even from Cole Porter’s evening are remarkable. Considering that these gigantic songs were interpreted by just two musicians and still rendered like a full sounding orchestra is, indeed, one for the books. From the time the show opened with “I Got Rhythm” and ended with “Fascinating Rhythm” the spell was unbroken. Again, the hour was too short and not enough to cover all of the genius of Gershwin.

But perhaps this is what true artists do when they perform. Not only is the composer or composers immortalized, but their music, through exquisite arrangements, are brought to higher levels.

As announced in Ivory Song’s website, the November show will feature Bernstein & Berlin. And the December event will feature Jobim and Legrand. Already you know an hour will again be too short for both these shows. I just hope this duo goes into a great studio and record all these shows. I will be the first to buy any of these CDs if and when available.

B. Darley
- B Darley


Still working on that hot first release.



blend of Brazilian samba, French music, jazz standards, classical music, etc.