CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The phrase "in the pocket" is used by jazz musicians to describe music that's perfectly in time. Singer Cyrille Aimee and guitarist Diego Figueiredo were certainly there last night in a two-set show at Edgewood Country Club in Charleston.
Their performance was part of this season's Charleston Jazz Series lineup in Charleston.
Aimee fell in love with they Gypsy community that traveled through her hometown of Fountainbleu, France, and it shows in her set list. With Figueiredo, a Brazilian guitarist, alongside providing sure-footed and sometimes spectacular support, Aimee took an appreciative crowd to France, Brazil and back to America throughout the evening.
She also used the loop pedal, a device that allows an artist to record and play themselves back almost instantly, creating layers of sound not possible otherwise. John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" in the hands of Aimee and a loop pedal became a thoughtful, almost playful take on a song written originally to protest the Vietnam War.
The loop pedal re-appeared in the second set in a skillful arrangement and performance of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy."
On a few occasions, Aimee left the stage and Figueiredo performed solo guitar arrangements of a couple of traditional Brazilian tunes. His ability to stretch and press the timing of phrases without losing the beat were the mark of a confident and extremely proficient musician. He's the kind of player that puts you on the edge of your chair to see what's going to happen next.
Together, the two have a connection that was plain fun to watch. An arrangement of West Virginia Music Hall of Fame inductee Bill Withers' "Just the Two of Us" was an audience favorite, with good reason. Figueiredo's finger picking was on point and Aimee's vocal floated above it. A time-signature switch in the bridge of the tune was a nice turn for the ear.
Aimee introduced tenor saxophonist Warren Walker for several songs during the evening. It's easy for a saxophone to overpower a singer, but that did not happen. After a few rough notes in "Bye Bye Blackbird" in the opening set, the trio settled in for some great music in the second set.
During an arrangement of "Tea for Two," the trio slipped into a groove that was a perfect musical moment. They could have played all night at that point -- and nobody would have cared to sit for 12 hours straight.
That's the sign of a good show. When it ends, you still want more and the time you spend listening flies by. That was certainly the case Friday night.