Lisa Lindo likes to “play.”
It’s an aspect of her music which hits you the moment she walks on the stage, picks up the microphone, and begins singing–all the while flashing you a brilliant smile that seems to be a permanent feature on her face.
Lindo and her jazz trio–featuring Drew Birston on the double-bass and Kevin Barrett on guitar–performed last Wednesday at the Townshend Theatre as a last-minute replacement on the “tour de Fort” concert series.
Their repertoire consisted of past hits from the likes of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald–songs which were palatable even to non “jazzers” in the audience.
“For people who really aren’t jazzers, there’s something you can do,” Lindo said. “If you hear something you like, clap. If you hear something you really like, say ‘yeah!’”
A bevy of yeahs followed, to which she remarked, “You’ve got to kind of cock your head to one side and say, ‘Yeah!’”
That tone of mellow levity kept up through the rest of the concert, with the audience singing along to such tunes as “Route 66” and a jazzed up version of “My Favourite Things.”
Lindo and Barrett were both on the “tour de Fort” stage last April with Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café, when Lindo recalled seeing the “sky dance” with northern lights–and the four-foot pizza which was at the reception after the concert.
The only one who had to adapt to Fort Frances was Birston, something he said wasn’t much of a challenge.
“People are so nice here, especially when you come from Toronto,” he laughed.
After her last appearance here, Lindo noted she and Barrett decided to get into the studio and produced the trio’s first CD, “Drink Your Coffee While it’s Hot.”
The title track is Lindo’s first and only self-written composition, which kind of pokes a half-comical, half-cynical view of love. Again, the song reflects her affinity for playing around more than any deep and serious philosophical thoughts.
“It started out with title,” Lindo said, who, during a rehearsal one afternoon, told Barrett to quit fooling around on his guitar and just “drink your coffee while it’s hot.”
“One day, I just sort of woke up and had music in my head,” she explained.
The rest of her CD matches her repertoire–covering standard jazz classics, such as “You Would Be So Nice to Come Home To,” and jazz interpretations of songs like Kermit the Frog’s, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”
“It’s just what I like, and if I think I could do a good job on it,” Lindo said. “I have to think about how Lisa would interpret the song–you’ve got to learn your own style.”
Wednesday’s concert was the last in a tour of four Northern Ontario communities for the trio but that doesn’t mean they won’t be busy. Lindo will be getting set to do another tour with Stuart McLean, Barrett has his own trio to keep him busy, while Birston plans to go into the studio to do some work on a solo project.
While the schedule may seem hectic, none of the three seemed to mind much.
“It’s what makes it interesting,” Barrett said. “It keeps the music fresh and alive.”
“It keeps you busy and your soul alive,” echoed Birston.
“You’ve got to have fun,” Lindo summed up. “I see people in the world who are not, and I wonder why not? That’s not where I’m at. I want to play.”
Lisa Lindo likes to “play.”