Tuck and Patti
are back at Blue Note
Milano with good news: the release of their new DVD "Tuck
& Patti Live in Holland", which also contains 2 CDs. Their latest albums
are "Chocolate Moment"
(2002, T&P Records) and "A
Gift Of Love" (2004, T&P Records).
concert opens with "Love Flows
Like a River" ("Chocolate Moment", 2002,
T&P Records). Patti's velvety voice couldn't possibly have a better companion than
Tuck's guitar. Tuck follows her like her very same shadow, creating
countermelodies around her phrases and around her sighs, or replies percussively
to Patti's percussive scat singing. The fans in the audience are anxious to greet
Tuck and Patti,
and the hall is filled with cheers and ovations at the end of the first song. The
second piece is "Better Than Anything".
Patti sings her own lyrics, I don't know if she is improvising them on the
spot or not, but it's exhilarating. Not only can
Tuck and Patti
reach into your heart and move you to tears; they are also capable of making you
smile and have fun.
The concert continues with "Rejoice"
(Chocolate Moment"), and Patti leaves the stage after this song of hope.
Now Tuck is alone with his guitar, and all the lights and all the eyes of
the audience are on Tuck and on his remarkably fast and agile fingers. Tuck
plays various songs, passing from "Georgia"
to "Europa" (Santana)
sounding as if there were an entire orchestra of guitars: accompaniment, harmonics,
bass line, melody, solos, slap, percussions... Tuck's fingers jump and run
up and down the guitar's neck and all the way down to the pick-ups at a very high
speed. Tuck seems to be totally immersed in his own world while he is playing
solo, and we have the chance of meeting his gaze only when he's trough and raises
his eyes to thank the audience for the steady applause and the cheers and ovations
he is almost surprised to be hearing. Patti reaches him on stage once more, and
sings a very intense ballad: "My
Romance" ("As Time Goes By", 2002,
Windham Hill Records), followed by "Hold
Me Tight And Don't Let Go" ("A Gift Of Love",
2004, T&P Records).
The first set is almost through, and
Tuck and Patti
hint the first notes of "Time After
Time", that their fans know very well because Patti has the habit
to invite the audience to sing along with her. She divides the audience in three
sections, and teaches them the background vocals to "Time
After Time". The
hall is now filled with the voices of the audience – luckily quite in tune - which
also become for a moment, protagonists of this remarkable evening. At the end of
this first set the cheers, applause and ovations get even louder, and after various
requests for "more",
Tuck and Patti
play "Takes My Breath Away"
("The Best Of
Tuck and Patti", 1997, Windham
Hill Records) before taking a break.
The second set offers us different hits, such as "Wildflower"
("Chocolate Moment"), that Patti dedicates to all the women; "Comfort
Me" ("Chocolate Moment"), "Can't
Help Falling In Love With You" ("A Gift Of Love") and once again "Time
After Time". Tuck remains once again alone on stage and plays "I
Wish" (Stevie Wonder) and other very well-known songs that acquire a
totally different flavor with his awsome interpretations. The concert ends on the
notes of "Love Is The key",
a hypnotic song, in which Patti improvises a great deal with a percussive
scat that reminds me of a heart beat.
At the end of the concert the
and Patti with a standing ovation.
I meet Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart at the
backstage between the first set and the second set of their concert. Their dinner
is in front of them, and it's getting cold, yet they welcome me with warmth and
ever so kindly reply to my questions.
Eva Simontacchi: Your
message is so strong, so powerful. How do you "charge your batteries"? How can you
be so filled with love and passion every night, and convey all this to your audience
keeping the message fresh and so powerful?
Patti Cathcart: I
think that the biggest reason, or I know that the reason is because that's been
the one thing we have been saying since we got together, and it's coming 28
years we relentlessly, all the time, say that message, and we believe it to our
souls. And that's how you get recharged, because there's not a word that we sing
about on stage that we don't believe deep in our souls. Whatever I sing, if it
speaks to my heart, then I can make it speak to your heart.
Surely there are moments in which
you are going through difficult times, or you might feel frustrated or simply tired.
What happens then?
It's the music, the stage that recharges
us. That's the moment that repays us for all our efforts. And every time we play
a song, for example "My Romance", you know? What's happening tonight? We get one
more time to play it. It's great, there's no words to describe this.
Probably also improvising
helps you to stay fresh with ideas. How much of what you do is improvised?
It varies. We have a joint commitment
to go with spirit, wherever it leads us. That works out to mean different things
on different songs. I might change melodies and even lyrics in a song, or add a
chorus of solo, while Tuck would freely improvise bass lines and chords, substituing
and reharmonizing around me, and varying whatever countermelodies he incorporated,
just as any jazz group would do. This is also true of most of the ballads we do,
although at times I'll intentionally leave out a section if it feels right; Tuck
typically catches this and goes right with me. On other songs the stucture of some
sections might change every night, even seguing into different songs. For example,
the out section of "Tears of Joy"
was completely improvised in the studio when we were recording; each take was completely
different, with different chords, melody and words. After the album came out, we
actually went back and learned what we did on the particular take we decided to
of our songs are like that. When we play live, the same kind of thing will happen.
On a given song we might stay with a particular form for a while until one of us
goes off in another direction one night, and then that alternative form becomes
a new theme variation in the future. Sometimes we'll make up an entirely new song
on the spot during shows, and this is how "High Heel Blues" and "Love Is The Key"
got started. But one result of having albums is that people have more favourite
songs than there is time in a show to do them, so this happens less than in the
(to Tuck) After all these years
on stage together, what is your experience like when you are performing?
Performing with Patti is like no other
experience I have had because it is so intense. The closest thing I've experienced
is race car video games, when you keep the accelerator floored and life comes at
you faster than you can possibly deal with, except that crashing and burning is
not an acceptable option and there is no slowing down and catching your breath when
you do crash and burn. It is relentlessly this way for an hour and a half. It is
like simultaneously being in the eye of the hurricane and in the hurricane itself,
except that we are also generating the hurricane rather than passively experiencing
it. It seems that there are multiple time scales being experienced all at once.
It is remarkable to me that it is possible to experience calmness, peace and joy
in the midst of very intense, rapid activity, much of which has to do with disaster
avoidance and damage control, but it seems to be the nature of the mind that these
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Publishing Date: 01/06/2006