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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boot to the Moon, Now Jazz Hands

Last night, Will, Michael and I headed up to the Downtown Artist's District in Los Angeles to the Cafe Metropol to watch a jazz performance by one of their old Cal Poly SLO choir mates, Inga Swearingen.

Michael had talked about Inga for as long as we had been dating - he played old recordings of her singing with their choir group and I'd be amazed by how perfectly her voice moved along all the notes. I was pretty excited to hear the real deal and she absolutely did not disappoint. She performed alongside her sister (also doing vocals), a stand up bass player, a guitarist and a percussionist. There was another jazz vocalist in the audience who happened to be a friend of hers - at one point she invited her up to the stage for a "songversation" - about 4 minutes of improvisational verse, harmonies and scat. The performance was phenomenal and I would not hesitate to drive anywhere in Southern California to see her again.

The only thing possibly more remarkable than her voice was her incredible personality. She recognized Michael and he introduced me to her and without hesitation she opened her arms and hugged me with a great big smile. She told me how much it meant to her that I could be there. It was the first time we met.

Now, normally I'd be totally freaked out by
that type of person. I can definitely be a don't-touch-me-or-look-at-me type of person and when I've run into some of those overly friendly- spaced-out-touchy-feely type of people that teeter on creepiness, I tend to curl up into a ball and shut down.

That wasn't her. It might have been the first time I had met
that type of person. I had no sense whatsoever that she was being anything but genuine. She was all there. She was very... present.

Her big sister, Britta, later made her way over to our table and began conversation with us, asking us about what we did and how we found out about the show and later telling us a bit about her family and their growing up and their passion for Music. She was EXACTLY the same as Inga. (Well, except that she was a Dental Hygienist - not a pro-vocalist... although she could be...when she and Inga sang together it was unbelievable.)

I've decided I like that type of person. The person who can start up a conversation with a total stranger who had nothing interesting to say, yet genuinely hangs on to every word that's being said as if they have a complete appreciation for the fact that this conversation, this moment, that word will never happen quite the same again. The type of person who listens as carefully as they speak and realizes there's no value in putting anything but goodwill into the atmosphere.

I don't know what their parents put in the water on their farm in SLO, but I'd like to bottle feed it to my children someday.

Anyhoo - I hope Will uploads his videos soon so I can share them, but for now here's a YouTube Vid of one of her songs - ignore the visuals... if she happens to show up in your 'hood, it's worth the effort to cancel all your other plans and check it out.


  1. Oh my god, I listened to that video plus the one on her site. Gorgeous. So smooth.. I loved the Misty references in Nearness of You.

  2. She is seriously amazing - kinda life changing... hahaha especially since she's so friggin nice!


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