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 www.sonyholland.com. For those of you lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, her gigs are also listed there....be 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: