When I was 18 years old, a good friend gave me a cassette. It was titled "Dream" by Tuck & Patti. I had never heard of them, but quickly fell in love with Patti's soulful and warm voice and Tuck's amazing world class jazz guitar. I still have that cassette, occasionally playing it thinking about my friend. I don't know where she is now. Over the years, I have acquired two of their CD's. Their music became 'home', something I can always come back to, something solid and comforting.
I like live music. Music has been a huge part of my life, however, I don't like huge stadium concerts with screaming fans. I like more intimate settings like Jazz clubs and live music in coffee shops, so I don't make it a habit to go see concerts much. Long story short, I had the opportunity to go to Tuck & Patti concert this weekend, 20 years after my friend gave me the cassette. It was a 'date' with my good friend Jodi, whom I had not seen in over a year.
As soon as we arrived at Festival Place in Sherwood Park, AB., we noticed we were probably the youngest people there. Made us giggle a little. :) Lots of 'older' men in black turtle necks and ladies in flow-y dresses. The hall was small and intimate. We liked it right away. As we fumbled through the dimly lit hall to find out seats, we spotted an old Hammond Organ with a Leslie Amplifier and speaker, a nice set up for the opening band, Dave Babcock trio from Edmonton. The evening's MC was Lark Clark from CKUA radio (which happens to be my favorite radio station)-- a community supported radio here in Alberta. It was a perfect setup. The two and half hour went by quickly. It was delightful and surreal. After waiting for 20 years to hear them live, it felt so 'normal' to be there, and yet so exciting. I held my breath as I sat on the edge of my seat as Tuck played "Europa", (take a look at the video above). It made me smile when Patti took off her uncomfortable high heels on stage and sang "High Heel Blues" and showed off her scat singing.
It boggles my mind that so few people know about them. They are considered one of the world's best jazz duo. But I like it that they are so understated and they don't seem to care about fame. Their setup was so simple. A small table with water bottles and towels. There was no CD's for sale. Their tour schedule take them all over the world. Japan, Italy, USA, mostly in small venues. I realized people who come to hear Tuck & Patti truly appreciate their talent. They don't need all the flashing lights and screaming fans to know they are good. They don't need loud speakers, because people come to listen. To really listen, because they are really that good. I like that. Unpretentious and real. Instead of spending their energy of becoming 'famous', they focus on improving their skills. A hidden treasure. It's like one of those amazing little out-of-the-way restaurant only locals know about. When Tuck finished the song "Europa", the audience sat quietly for about 3 seconds before we started clapping because we were so taken by his magic, the way he made his guitar sing by letting his ten fingers gracefully dance on it. No effects, no flashing lights. I think there is definitely something to learn from that, even for me. To put our whole heart into doing what we love, not caring so much about what others think, pursuing excellence quietly-- believing in what we do.