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Bridgehampton Historical Society Hosts A Blues And Jazz Filled Evening

Originally Posted: January 10, 2012

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Mamalee, Jane Hastay, Charlie Caranicas, Rose Lawler and Peter Martin Weiss brought the soulful sounds of jazz and the blues to the Bridgehampton Historical Society. (Eileen Casey)

Powerful vocals from Rose Lawler and Mamalee. (Eileen Casey)

Bridgehampton - The Bridgehampton Historical Society hosted its fourth popular Parlor Jazz Series concert on Friday, January 6, 2012, with vocalists Mamalee and Rose Lawler, pianist Jane Hastay, bass player Peter Martin Weiss, and NYC trumpeter Charlie Caranicas.

This was a magical musical evening with the consummate talent and skill of each performer brought forth - front and center - to create an environment of reflective, participatory and thrilling blues, jazz, gospel and contemporary music.

Vocal duo Mamalee and her daughter Rose are well known locally, and their sound will rattle the stained glass window panes of any church, gathering or happening where a capella praise music, call and response work songs, blues, gospel, boogie woogie, and jazz are heard on high, and in smoke filled, dark blues joints anywhere.

Charlie Caranicas, Jane Hastay and Peter Martin Weiss are all smiles at such a great evening. (Eileen Casey)

With a repertoire that included covers from the Five Blind Boys of Alabama ("Let Me Hear My Mother Pray Again"), to Ethel Waters/Lena Horne "Stormy Weather," to the Steeldrivers "If It Hadn't Been for Love," (recently recorded by Adele), with a little Nina Simone thrown in, these ladies can wail - and wail they did. Mamalee's cover of Simone's "My Baby Just Cares For Me" was sheer entertainment - a great voice accompanied by feisty showmanship on stage.

The charm and versatility Rose Lawler brings to the stage with her infectious smile and fantastic vocals should be a wake-up call to any A&R record label reps within hearing distance - this young lady has it all - and knows how to use it - from funky blues to classic jazz - her cover of Etta James' "At Last" was appropriate - because at last there is a young, fresh face vocalist who has the contemporary mojo to handle the blues and jazz like a seasoned veteran - as always she is a deight to hear.

Charlie Caranicas lets his horn blare at BHHS Jazz Parlor Series. (Eileen Casey)

Occasionaly accompanied by husband and father Jim Lawler, who joined in for a few tunes on Friday, handling percussion - this is one talented family. Long a fan of both of these ladies, they did not disappoint on this otherwise quiet January night in the Hamptons. Mamalee is as gracious as she is talented, and made sure to welcome Caranicas who she mentioned "We just met a few moments ago," and expressed her delight at this horn blower's sheer talent. Making sure to give both Hastay and Weiss their moments to solo this was an evening for musical pros. Her duet with her daughter on "Angel from Montgomery" (John Prine) is one of the best covers of this tune ever - no surmising - just a fact!

Jane Hastay and Peter Martin Weiss bring their skills to the stage. (Eileen Casey)

A duet on a song from a Vermont songrwriter - Grace Potter - should be recorded by Mamalee and Rose so we can all run out and buy it.

Caranicas accompanied the ladies on solos and duets, and instinctively brought his musical skill to blend beautifully and enhance the sound of each voice. Performing a few solos himself, Caranicas proved with the first exhale into his trumpet (he also played the Frugel Horn) that he was here to play. Covering the roots of American jazz ("Wild Man Blues," Louis Armstrong) to "When Your Lover Has Gone" from the James Cagney film "Blonde Crazy," this gentleman knows his musical mainstream and traditional jazz history and played like a man in the know with a few licks of his own - an impressive performance that would make the legends proud. Let's hope he hits the Hamptons again very soon.

Pianist Jane Hastay and bassist Peter Martin Weiss added their considerable talents to the evening. These two are highly respected performers here in the Hamptons (and elsewhere) and deservedly so - they are that good and are even better each time I see them. Adding their licks to Friday's musical lollipop, Hastay packs such a punch on the piano keys it's shocking that such big sound comes from the efforts of such a petite woman. She is one of the driving forces behind the Jazz Parlor Series and guests flocked to congratulate her at the end of the evening.

Program Director of BHHS Sally Spanburgh is all smiles at Friday's turn out. (Eileen Casey)

Also showing his musical chops, Peter Martin Weiss, knows how to get down, low and lyrical on the bass. Adding his acoustic and jazz collaboration to just about every number performed, Weiss was so into the evening, he stepped up to the microphone at one point to simply announce, "I'm having a great time!"

This evening was a result of the hard work of many, but in particular BHHS Program Coordinator, Sally Spanburgh, who indicated that "This is the first year we have done jazz, as the series is in its fifth year, but we always focused on folk music. The turn-out and response has been tremendous, and we are grateful to all our sponsors and performers, as well as those who take the time to join us."

Spanburgh certainly deserves a round of applause for bringing such great entertainment to a tiny venue in Bridehampton where community members could gather, nod their heads to the beat and enjoy a thoroughly wonderful 75 minutes of music where every seat was taken and many just stood to sway to some great tunes.

The fifth and final concert in the series will be held on Friday, February 3. BHHS Archives Building is located at the southeastern end of Bridgehampton's Main Street, just beyond the monument. For more information visit below or call 631-537-1088, bhhs@optonline.net.

QUERY THIS: Calling all music buffs! Do you know what year the song from "Blonde Crazy" was first recorded and by what artist? Leave us a comment here and we'll give you the answer at the end of the week.

Guests gather for a great night of music. (Eileen Casey)

For more information, click here.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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Guest (Peter) from Southampton says::
How about 1935?
Jan 11, 2012 2:25 pm


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