Yes, I did. I am now a very big fan. And it's not just because of the kiss, though that was very nice. It's because he plays his music with the whole of his being - heart, mind, soul and body. You can see and hear the passion with which he plays and with which he composes.
His choice of accompanying musicians - Geoffrey Keezer, Clarence Penn and Reuben Rogers - was perfect. Each complemented the other. His choice of a vocalist, Kenny Washington, was obviously very thoughtful, as well.
I loved how he took the time to tell us stories of the how and why of each song. He opened up his heart to the audience, and it really was a beautiful thing. Each tune was better than the one before, and then he got to Verrazano Moon. He told the story of how that song came to be - a dedication to his dear friend who had died - and the reason for the song, along with the beautiful words, brought me to tears. And me with no kleenex.
It was a completely packed house. I sat behind the D&C's Anna Reguero, who was blogging and tweeting about the show, and next to my Rochester Music Hall of Fame colleague, Kathy Palokoff. And, of course, Joe Chiappone.
The set included many ballads, which I love. Kenny Washington sang and scatted and sang some more. He has a real nice, soulful voice. There were some very uptempo, high energy tunes, too, including the one which closed the set. (Joe Locke must burn a zillion calories each show.) Then he and the pianist came back for the encore. After that, Joe came out into the lobby of Kilbourn to sign CDs.
Which brings me to the kiss.
So, Joe (Chiappone) bought a CD for us, and we waited in line to have it signed. Joe Locke talked with each person as if he knew them. Surely, there were some he did know - he's a hometown boy, after all. But it just seems like it is his way to make each person feel like a friend. When we got up to him, he complimented my funky coat. We chatted a bit about my coat, his shirt, and Andy Calabrese and Steve Curry - with whom he has played. He signed the CD, and I asked him to sign my pass as well. Then, for some reason as we said our goodbyes, we hugged and he kissed my cheek! I think I might have floated out of Kilbourn.
Although I am looking forward to seeing as much as possible the last two days of the 2010 XRIJF, I don't think anything can top that!
yours in music,