Thursday, May 5, 2011


Jazz vocalist Kate Patterson
Jazz singer Kate Patterson closed out the 22nd Jazz Forum Concert series at the Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church Wednesday evening. For 20 years, Patterson has performed at the Jazz Forum, and her concert is the most anticipated. This time, Patterson dedicated the concert to her buddy the late jazz bassist Don Mayberry. The bassist passed away in April of a massive heart attack. Patterson and Mayberry worked together off and on for 28 years. Some of Mayberry's relatives were on hand.

The concert began at 8:00pm sharp. Patterson made a grand entrance, gliding down the aisle blowing a harmonica in a white dress that looked hand-stitched by Valentino. When Patterson reached the bandstand, she guided her band—Steve Woods, Dan Pliskow, Johnny Trudell, Jim Wyse, Robert Tye, Chuck Shermetaro and Dave Taylor—throw “If I Had You”. The band was decked out in black tuxedos. The band's playing was also sharp. All evening, Patterson voice was robust, which was surprising because she's been ill lately. That didn't slow her down. Patterson had a field date with the standards she sung.

The two-hour concert had three unforgettable moments. The first was saxophonist Steve Woods' duet with clarinetist Jim Wyse on “Petite Fleure”. The second was Patterson's duet with guitarist Robert Tye on the lullaby “Little Man You Had a Busy Day”. She sung it slowly and softly like trying to lull a child to sleep. The third memorable moment occurred while Patterson performed Don Mayberry’s favorite Roger and Hammerstein song “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Patterson broke down. When she pulled herself together, Patterson said: “If it’s raining after the concert it’s Don crying tears of joy in heaven”. 

Patterson has stagecraft. Patterson prefaced songs with humorous stories, made off-handed jokes, and  egged on her sidemen like a soccer mom. For 16 years, Patterson has battled leukemia. Lately, she’s been in and out of the hospital, undergoing experimental treatment. Wednesday evening, Patterson was robust, was  dancing and was singing up a storm.
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