Arts & Events

Puget Sound Jazz Band hosts swinging Valentine’s Day concert

Dee Daniels singing in Schneebeck Concert Hall — Photo credit to Rowan Segura

Fingers were snapping, toes were tapping and hearts were ablaze with the magic of music this Valentine’s Day during Puget Sound’s Jazz Orchestra concert featuring singer Dee Daniels. The crowd was alive in the Schneebeck Concert Hall that night, as Daniels and the Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra wooed the crowd with their unique musical stylings.

With an expansive and diverse resume, Dee Daniels has shared the stage with a number of symphony orchestras across the U.S. and Canada. According to her website, she has toured with the Noord Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, performed “Songs From Disney Movies” with the Munich Radio Orchestra and recorded her “Wish Me Love” CD with The Metropole Orchestra of Holland. Daniels has also graced the Broadway stage in the 2009 premiere of New York choreographer Twyla Tharp’s new musical “Come Fly Away.”

On Thursday, she joined the Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra who, according to senior band member Ian Crocker, had been preparing arduously for the collaboration since last semester.

That night, however, all their hard work paid off and the result was an enchanting evening of music and laughter. With her effervescent personality, Daniels was quick to inject the room with her endless energy.

“My favorite part of the performance was just sitting back and listening to Dee,” Crocker said. “I was seated directly behind her, playing rhythm guitar on most of the tunes, and I just got absolutely caught up in the way she would phrase her melodies, in how far behind the beat she could stretch before snapping back.”

But it wasn’t just Daniels’ impressive technique and four-octave range that captivated the crowd that night. With her quippy jokes and personal stories, Daniels addressed every audience member as if they were an old friend. For instance, before performing her 1990 song “I Got This Bridge I Want You to Buy,” she coolly relayed the inspiration behind the tune: her ex-husband’s shocking infidelity.

“One day, instead of turning left to go to work, he walked straight across the street to the neighbor’s and started examining the grass,” Daniels said with a sly grin. “I guess he thought it was greener or something.”

While there are many talented musicians in the world, it’s quite rare to find a performer as personally engaging as Daniels. This was perhaps the biggest surprise for the band performing with her that night.

“The presence Dee commands on stage is just astounding,” Crocker said. “We’d all practiced the music, of course, and we’d all listened to her work online. But none of that gave us a picture of the communication she’d have with the audience and with the band. It was just a blast out there.”

It takes quite a band to back up a performer as technically skilled as Daniels and sure enough, the Puget Sound Jazz Orchestra was more than ready for the task. “We’ve heard a bunch of different folks telling us that this has been the best UPS jazz concert they’d seen,” Crocker said. “And having played in this ensemble all of my four years here, I think the band is as good as it’s ever been.”

At the start of her set, Daniels said that her only goal for the evening was that “you will leave here tonight feeling inspired, uplifted and with a big smile on your face.” Daniels and the band undoubtedly succeeded in their goal. Whether you were spending the holiday with that special someone or just trying to make it through the night without crying into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, the performance that evening proved that sometimes it just takes a little music to spread a lot of love.