Six-time Grammy nominee and Concord recording artist, Nnenna Freelon brought her golden pipes to the Saville Theater at City College. Accompanying her was pianist Mike Garson (David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) and locals Bob Magnusson on bass and Duncan Moore on drums.
The trio warmed up the crowd with an elastic version of "All Blues." Then, Freelon offered up a slow, smoldering version of "Blue Skies." Her voice is acrobatic and pitch-perfect. She employs the acrobatics with the best of taste and often gesticulates with both arms and hands while she's singing — you get the feeling she's lived her material.
Garson, despite his rock credentials, is a jazz pianist who has a history supporting the singer, which showed. Magnusson wowed the crowd with his warm, buttery tone during several solos, and he alone accompanied Freelon for a stunning version of "Skylark." Along the way was a beautiful version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi" and a hilarious take on "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz.
The sold-out house was on board for finale "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Aint Got That Swing)."
Concert: Nnenna Freelon
Date: November 9
Venue: Saville Theater, San Diego City College
Seats: General admission
Photo by Michael Oletta