Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sunday Afternoon with ZZAJ

…ZZAJ Music Infusion …

Our community has the good fortune to experience free concerts weekly that various musical groups are hired to present as mentioned in my previous post, "Music and Memories." On a recent Sunday afternoon one such group, known as ZZAJ, provided an enjoyable music infusion to the soul and spirit of those of us fortunate enough to be present. They didn't play just any music, but being extraordinarily talented musicians they performed some very special jazz including traditional, current and original songs.

As they describe themselves:
"ZZAJ is a contemporary music group offering a blend of Jazz, R&B and Latin styles."

The ZZAJ group consists of:
Rich Sumner, guitar; Joel Paat, keyboard; Tom Barnett, bass; Roger Gillespie, drums
with DiAne Gillespie as vocalist.

Their impressive musical backgrounds and experience can be read about HERE.

We enjoyed the music that afternoon as we sat shaded from the hot direct sun at large umbrella covered tables. The comfortably warm weather embraced the slightly cooling breezes dancing around us, as though drawn by the music. We listened, swayed to the sounds that some accompanied with rapid head nodding, others tapped a foot or fingers to the beat, as these professional musicians performed well-known familiar tunes plus their own compositions.

I enjoy their instrumentals, but especially appreciate the singing quality of their vocalist, DiAne Gillespie. She is a unique performer in her own right that I first heard sing last year. I'm quite impressed, as I was then, when she sings "God Bless The Child," a classic jazz tune primarily associated with Billie Holiday, "Lady Day," an icon of jazz vocalists. DiAne's special vocal expression makes the tune her own.

The group performed a recent arrangement of a favorite song of mine, "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon," highlighting DiAne's vocal skills as she emotionally conveys the longing feelings imbedded in the excitement of anticipation in seeing a missed loved one again.

She shared the story of an unexpected pleasure the ZZAJ group recently experienced at a local resort performance. The well known singer, Jack Jones, unexpectedly joined them on stage to sing with DiAne another favorite song of mine, "Love Dance." He has a solo CD album recording of that tune.

This is not an easy song to sing requiring challenging vocal changes, but when I heard her solo rendition again, I could only wish I'd had the good fortune to hear her duet with Jack Jones. Her vocal nuances with this tune clearly and effortlessly evoke in her audience the feeling sensations that exist in that dance that engages lovers around the world.

DiAne is also an accomplished artist who creates the group's CD album covers. Her picture titled "Rehearsal" reminds me of ZZAJ and groups from my husband's music days. That picture and others can be seen HERE.

I'll be looking forward to ZZAJ's continued future appearances on certain Sunday afternoons that others, too, can enjoy.

I find myself wondering what music genre most appeals to this blog's readers; if similar pleasurable quality music is as readily available where you are? Music feeds the soul, I believe. As an afterthought, I wondered who else might say similar words and discovered Laura Niles, classical violinist, expressing a similar idea at”

She has an interesting article with a link to the “…2007 Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award recipient and soul great Booker T. Jones” where you can listen to this accomplished rock and jazz musician.
Music forms are all connected to each other and to us, whatever the genre’.


  1. Wish I could have heard that! It's my kind of music.

  2. What a great thing to have these free concerts! Is that connected to The College?
    I love Jazz, as well as Classical, Pop (I mean the old Pop...) Broadway....I guess you could say I Love Music!

  3. The concert that you described played what sounds like my kind of music. How wonderfully different from what passes for popular music today.

  4. Kenju & Mortart, you'll just have to stop by some Sun. aft. and enjoy these groups.

    Oldoldlady: These year 'round (except when it rains) concerts are sponsored by all the businesses in a small upscale strip shopping center (includes sushi restaurant, popular national coffee spot.) The concerts have no connection to the colleges other than being in close geographical proximity.

    The owner of the center happens to be a superb musician in his own right, plays with his excellent group called Polyhedra. He and many of the musicians integrate playing with their "real jobs" in music education, private teaching, other related music activities, i.e. DiAne teaches art, music, provides private voice lessons, directs a choir.

  5. OOOOOOHH, what fun. Wish I had been there.

  6. Wow!! I would so enjoy that. We just had a blues festival downtown last weekend with Robert Cray headlining. Good stuff!!!!

    However my first love is jazz -- & my favorite jazz diva is Billie Holliday so I would have loved to hear Ms. Gillespie (Relation to Dizzy?) and ZZAJ.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon! I miss attending concerts like these.

    I love jazz, but it would be easier to say that I don't care for Rap, Hip Hop, or true country music, than to try to list all the types of music that I love.

    Are you familiar with the work of Diana Krall? You might enjoy her work.


  8. Suzz: Just head on over on Sundays.

    Kay: Glad you enjoyed Robt. Cray. Understand why you might wonder about the Gillespie name.

    Buffy: Diana Krall -- yes, yes; how about her "Peel Me A Grape!" There are quite a few others, including among the newer singers, Diane Schuur from whom I first heard "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon."

  9. Ohhhhhhh, "Peel Me A Grape!" I LOVE Krall's rendition. Thanks for the tip on Diane Schuur!