Tracing history through song
Updated 3:44 pm, Friday, February 26, 2016
DARIEN — It was a history lesson, but presented as an afternoon of smooth, sweet music.
Rhonda Denet and the Silver Fox Songs Trio performed at Darien Library Saturday in a program titled “From Jazz to Soul.” Scheduled in honor of Black History Month, the New York-based ensemble cruised through a catalog that featured hits from some of the greatest female vocalists, while sharing anecdotes about various songs.
“Who doesn’t love jazz and soul music?” asked Mallory Arents, head of adult programming at the library, who helped organize a month-long lineup of events celebrating African-American history.
“They are fabulous,” she said of the group, “big and brassy — exactly what you need for Motown, jazz and soul music. It really sounds like the kind of music you’d hear in a New York City lounge.”
A lot of the group’s success stems from the members’ long history of playing together.
“This is like a family,” said Derek Buchanan, bass player. “Musically, we fit like a glove. And we like each other, which helps.”
The group is led by Denet, the founder of several groups.
“Every time she sings,” Buchanan said, “even though I know the songs, whenever she sings she pulls out something different. I have to applaud.”
“Most singers are not musicians,” pianist Mike Bardash said. “She is a musician. It’s a pleasure to play with her.”
Denet said the trio, which also includes drummer Chuck Batton, “give me the wings to fly.”
The musicians will perform about seven times in February, and average about four gigs a month for the past six years, she said.
“They all are very, very fine musicians with their individual instruments,” said Bardash’s wife, Lea Myohanen, who travels with them on occasion, “and they’re very dedicated musicians. They have a rehearsal every week … so there’s this constant desire for improvement.”
After opening with “Blue Skies,” Denet announced, “We swing the pendulum from good love to not-so-good love,” as they slipped into “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” “But I promise you we’re going to end with great love.”