Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Jazz Mecca in Culver City, CA - Sony Holland Dazzles

The San Francisco jazz scene has not been the same since our beloved diva, Sony Holland, and her talented songwriter husband, Jerry Holland, headed to the tinsel town of Los Angeles.  Oh, sure, they occasionally drive north to do a few gigs for their loyal Bay area fans but it looks like they are going to stay in the land of traffic jams and smog.  That means, of course, that we will make the journey, occasionally, if our budgets allow, to be enchanted by her sensual voice, working its magic with Jerry's new lyrics or singing the standards from the Great American songbook or newer hits that strike her fancy.  No matter what she chooses, she captivates audiences who join her steadily increasing fan base.

Friday, I arrived at San Francisco International almost two hours early for my 1:50PM flight to LAX.  Virgin America leaves from the international terminal and I wanted to allow for plenty of time to make my way to the departure lounge, figuring there might be a lot of weekend traffic.  This was one time I wouldn't leap to the front if they asked for volunteers to stay behind for a free travel voucher.  No sir, I do have my priorities ....can't miss Sony Holland, even for that.  I was so excited because I hadn't seen the Hollands since June and it had been about three months since I'd seen my good friend, Joanne Olivieri ( Poetic Shutterbug ), who used to do some work for Sony ( pretty sad, really, since Jo and I only live about ten miles apart!! ).  

At any rate, the flight was uneventful and I caught the Radisson hotel shuttle within minutes of disembarking.  When I got to the hotel, I took a peek inside the Jazz Club which looked quite snazzy.  Lo and behold, there was Jerry Holland, checking things out himself.  I gave him a big hug, then went to take my bag up to my room.  Before I took a few steps, the door from the courtyard opened and there was Jo who greeted me with a hug and announced she was starving.  Since I was hungry as well, we immediately headed to the lobby bar and shared a chicken quesadilla.  I did not share my Patron reposada margarita.  Jerry Holland walked up then and said, "I should have known you'd find the bar already."  Now, whatever did he mean by that?

It turns out that Jo and I had both been on the Virgin America flight, and in the departure lounge at the same time and never even saw each other....wierd, huh?  There might have been some gorgeous hunk flying with us and we were totally oblivious.  Jo is so busy clutching the arm rests, anyway, when she's airborne,CSI would have a perfect set of prints imbedded in them should they ever be needed.

Sony was doing two sets, the first starting at 8PM so I was downstairs about 7:10PM to see our other San Francisco friends when the club doors opened at 7:30PM.  There were seven of us from the Bay area and we all were at tables right up front, to cheer her on.  It did our hearts good to see the venue completely packed.  Even the seats back in the bar area were filled!  Merle Kreibich of IN HOUSE Music had done an incredible job of setting up this site at the Culver City Radisson as an excellent jazz club which has performances every Friday in a dinner theatre setting.

To say that Sony ( and Jerry, who accompanied Sony and the band for a few numbers ) was fantastic is a major understatement. I loved the new original songs Jerry has written since their move to Los Angeles.  To hear some of them - and some of the songs from her other CDs, go to Sony's website at  For those of you lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, her gigs are also listed sure to tell her that Carmen and Jo sent you, if you see her.   The band that normally plays with her are also outstanding - Theo Saunders on the piano ( simply superb ), John B. Williams on bass ( he played for Nancy Wilson for over forty years  and with Doc Severinson and the Tonight show band for seven years ), Larry Koonse on guitar ( he's recorded with Al Hirt, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt
and many more ) and drummer, Tony Austin.

Both sets were a mix of Jerry Holland originals, old and new and many old favorites.  Sony sings "At Last" better than anyone, in my opinion and when she did  "The Last Time Ever I Saw Your Face", she brought the house down.  It was all over far too quickly to suit me.  Long after everyone left, we sat in the lobby, the San Franciscans, Jerry and Sony, and Sabrina, the beautiful Siberian husky, sipping champagne and eating luscious chocolate truffles.  Only Jo and Sabrina were teetotalers!

Saturday morning, Jo and I had a farewell breakfast with our friend, who is at the Grammy Awards as I write this.  I long for the day that we see Sony Holland receiving her Grammy for singing a Jerry Holland song!

Scraggly Bird of Paradise on the Radisson property - Hawaii needn't worry!

Palms helping mask the Culver City freeway noise

Los Angeles snow

Beautiful courtyard trees

Ferns in the courtyard

Radisson, Culver City, CA - lobby bar

Interior of the Culver City  Jazz Club at the Radisson

The interior bar at the Radisson's Culver City Jazz Club

Sony Holland - simply the best!

Sony Holland and Carmen Henesy

A hello from Merle Kreibich of In House Music who is the master mind behind the Jazz Club at the Radisson

 Sony Holland, our beloved jazz diva

 Sabrina, a big fan of the Holland duo
The Hollands and the San Francisco Contingent

My healthy fruit selections for breakfast

The waffle maniac's breakfast - at least she kept it to one order of waffles!

The green stuff makes this breakfast not too bad.

Just so you can get an idea of how wonderful Sony Holland is, here are a couple of her You Tube videos:


  1. Carmen, looking at those breakfast items just makes me hungry again :) fantastic shots especially the first one of Sony and the room. It was so dark in there when you took those pics but they came out perfect. That courtyard tree was gorgeous. I wish I knew what it was. We had so much fun, I wish we could get there every month. I still can't believe we were on the same flight in and didn't know it :D

  2. I was thinking the same thing about breakfast as I was finishing this post at midnight, wishing I had eaten one of those waffles, too. Really did have a great time on our rushed trip...passed out on the flight home. We didn't sleep much at the Radisson - sorry you had the noisy floor! Hope Sony enjoyed the Grammys tonight!

  3. Anonymous3:48 AM

    Looks and sounds like you and Jo had a great and memorable trip. The pictures are gorgeous as well.

  4. I love San Fran. I lived outside there for a year....years ago. I miss it so.

  5. WOW You really know how to celebrate. Every time I get here I starve... wonder why...And where is the snow?
    Lucky you
    Great post!

  6. What a pair. I bet neither of you ever thought of an old lady who would have attended if you'd bought her a ticket. Did you make it home with any eyeshadow left?

  7. Your happy is written all over this. And to go to such lengths to support and artist and feed your soul...speaks volumes of you. Thanks for sharing.


  8. I love seeing Trish's purple shoes in the group shot.
    The Grammy's were sensational...what a show!
    Thank you for being in Culver City on Friday night. What a blast!

  9. I enjoyed a wonderful performance.
    Thank you for giving good time.

    It is the shop of a very good atmosphere.

    It is the sound of what splendid words.
    It is a longed-for place eternally.

  10. Lucky Sony..she got to go to the Grammys..i was sitting here on the couch watching it eating pizza..but we did have wine too...

    carmen, it looks like a good time...and what a breakfast...

    here we go february....

    more later, my dear


  11. What fantastic photos and what a wonderful time you all had! Makes me jealous...I would love to get away from dreary, drab Central IL! :)

  12. Icy BC -
    Culver City was terrific but rushed. Sony was fabulous, of course, and I hadn't seen Jo in so long.

    Bits-n-Pieces -
    I'm originally from GA - stopped off in SF on my way to Hawaii when I was 18 and knew I'd live here some day. I've now been here 33 years.

    Dulce -
    no snow in CA except in the mountains! Come see us!

    Margie -
    I only went down with my carry on bag..packed in such a rush! Went glitzy to the performance and forgot my evening bad so I had to dump my makeup out of my black cosmetic bag and use it - pretty tacky with my fancy black shoes and my rhinestone earrings. Then, Saturday, I forgot my tricolor gold/brown/beige eyeshadow and wore NONE and, when I grabbed my long dangly earrings for that outfit, I grabbed one each in two different colors ( I have three pairs in different colors ) - so I just wore them that way. No one made a comment!

    Woman in a Window -
    Erin, it was a joy seeing Sony again and all my San Fran friends that I don't see unless we're at one of her shows. Jo, I see occasionally, otherwise, but we've both been so busy, it hasn't happened!

    ruma2008 -
    I wish you could come visit us! I think you did say you had been to San Francisco once but I didn't know you then!

    My Farmhouse Kitchen -
    Sony said it was such fun being at the Grammys though I think she was pretty far up in the ozone.

    A.Marie -
    anytime you want a break from Illinois, hop a plane and come see us in San Francisco. It's a bit cooler than L. A. but we think it's even nicer!