We had a great gig tonight at Tony Starlight's.

Deja Nu has been kicking around for a while now. I joined the group (barely knowing jazz piano) about a year and a half ago. We had a good first summer playing down on Alberta for Last Thursdays, but then we started having some personnel changes, and had to relearn a bunch of repertoire.

A year later our personnel was solid again and then it was just a matter of solidifying the rep and finding gig opportunities. We all enjoy doing it for fun and don't relish the idea of landing the backbreaking grunt gigs. I remember months ago I was saying that what I really wanted was just a regular gig at a cushy venue with wonderful people.

Tony Starlight's opened up, and it seemed perfect for us! We went and heard the Bureau Of Standards Big Band. A couple of our members play in that band. We also met and later saw the talented and fetching Swing Sisters - a whole throwback community of show bands is coalescing here in Portland - not quite jazz, but broader - and it's a blast to be a part of.

So after a year of not gigging, save for a warmup charity gig a couple of years ago, it was quite an experience performing on a stage in a classy joint, with a grand piano and lighting. I sang three songs - Mack The Knife, You And Me And The Bottle Makes Three (that song is just crazy and people went nuts), and my favorite was the last song. I've worked up a version of "One For My Baby" - since it's about closing time, I got the privilege of closing out the gig with the song - a lot of people stuck around to the very end. It was me, bass, drums, and sax solo, and there was just a really cool mood in the place at the end of the night - it was late, but also felt full of life. The rhythm section has some good communication and we ended the tune in a way we never have before, completely spontaneously. It was such a cool moment, one I won't forget.

The rest of our songs were sung mostly by Michelle, our true diva/star. She sounded great tonight - she's got a beautiful, broad, trained voice, with amazing versatility. I accompanied Michelle and Tony on a duet of You Don't Bring Me Flowers that was just hilarious - they were both in full Streisand/Diamond costume. Tony also sang Beyond The Sea with us. Other favorite moments were Michelle on Route 66, the ending of Too Darn Hot, and especially Bewitched - I opened the second set just improvising something very distantly related to the tune, while waiting for the other players to come up on stage - we transitioned right into the tune, it built slowly until the end, and just had an amazing feel to it all the way through.

Tony Starlight has a great thing going at his club, and if you're in Portland and haven't checked it out yet, you should. His site (with a hilarious splash page) has a full calendar of events, including his own comedy/music show every Saturday night.

In addition, Deja Nu has already been asked back, and we will be playing there again on September 7th, a Friday night! Make reservations now because our show tonight sold out more than a week in advance!