Hammer for Free

Pyeng Threadgill

Not so much one that bangs nails into walls, but one called the Armand Hammer Museum in LA. (Not the Arm and Hammer, as misunderstood by a friend. In-joke for those who live in the States.) The museum has had a summer of free-ness. Free rock, free exhibitions, and now, free jazz.

We had a pretty swinging evening of jazz and blues with Pyeng Threadgill and her band. Despite the uncomfortable seats and overly hard acoustics, her music moved my toes and swayed my hips. If I could dance at all, I would have.

The Hammer’s website describes her as having the “voice of a jazz diva” with “indie-pop songwrit[ing]” credentials. Not possessing the vocabulary of the music-connoisseurs, I’d have to agree. It’s not very often that I hear new vocal jazz that I want to listen to again and again. And her voice has that envious fullness/richness. It brings to mind a cup of perfect Italian espresso, accompanied with a pastille of dark, rich chocolate. Her song Ambrosia evokes aural memories of a young Ella Fitzgerald (listen here). Sweet and sultry at the same time.

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