Number two is sweet and sultry "Sentimental Paradise" penned by McKesson, Steve Frarey, and her pianist (and CD coproducer) Dennis Therrian. Ed Fedewa's bass line is front and center in a terrific arrangement of Harold Arlen's "A Sleepin' Bee." Dave Frishberg's sassy "Peel Me a Grape" trips deftly into comedy. The final cut, "When Your Lover Has Gone," is a duet for McKesson and drummer Lawrence Leathers. I had to listen to it three times in a row; there's so much going on in there.
I can get pretty glassy-eyed in jazz clubs, but it's mainly because I go all trancy thinking about how I could get the singer to help me out in some necessary vocal way. When I leave Koke McKesson and her legions of standing-room fans on a fall night, I wonder if I could get her to sing my Christmas carols for me, my lullabies, my outgoing phone messages . . .
Koke McKesson returns to the Firefly Club on Friday, January 30.
[Originally published in January, 2004.]