Kitten on the Keys

Gil Reavill has kindly provided the following guest post.

Smalls (writes Gil) is a Manhattan jazz club whose name describes it well: a tight basement space in the West Village, one that in past years would be thick with tobacco smoke. It’s a perfect throwback. Spending a recent evening at Smalls made me feel as though I had stepped into a time machine. I was transported back into the glory years of the Nineteen-Fifties, waiting for Bird to step onstage. The jazz club has a jazz cat, Minnow, a Maine coon who loves curling up on the credenza of the Steinway, inches away from the piano player’s face. (T-shirts can be had with Minnow’s countenance.)

Smalls Sept 24 2013

My pal John Bowman and I were at Smalls to see vocal phenom Cyrill Aimée, among the best of a current crop of female singers (like Melody Gordot, Linzzi Zaorski and Cécile McLorin Salvant) keeping the traditions of jazz singing alive. Aimée did a terrific couple of late sets. The standouts for me were the Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer classic “My Shining Hour, ” plus the Thelonious Monk composition “Well, You Needn’t,” a tune I’ve listened to my whole life without realizing it had lyrics (they were composed in the 1970s by singer Mike Ferro). But everything Aimee did was superb. She had a crack band backing her, led by pianist Pete Malinverni. “Me and Pete and Minnow are going to do a trio now,” Aimee announced before one number, afterwards name-checking the cat accurately as “Minnow on the piano.” A magical evening.


Filed under Culture, History, Music

2 responses to “Kitten on the Keys

  1. Gil Reavill

    Um, that’s Cyrille with an “e” on the end


    Thanks for the introduction to CYRILL AIMEE… her story is fascinating, with its blend of French, Gypsy, and Latin influences. I like her. I see that last night’s appearance at Small’s was streamed live!

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