Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The dapper man who fell to earth...

You probably know someone who's got style. You probably know someone who's got talent. You probably know someone who's got that inexplicable something. But you don't know anybody who's got all three of these qualities in quantities that could disarm the army. Meet
Jimmy Spencer.

Mr. Spencer has been a shining fixture on the LA jazz scene for decades. His smooth vocals and commanding presence go deep, filling his listeners ears with a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is worldview that makes the old standards come completely to life. Holding that mic just so, formal in the geometric sense, radiating a form of spellbinding light, not from the visible spectrum (ultra blue?), Jimmy puts the warm back in cool.

In Los Angeles you might have seen Jimmy Spencer at The Beverly Hilton, The Ambassador Hotel, The Golden Galleon, The Lobster House. I remember him from Miceli's in Hollywood, one of the most charistmatic backdrops going. His spine-tingling ultra-minimal version of Route 66 haunts my dreams to this day. ("Get your kicks... Six, Six.") He's got a regular gig, excuse me, engagement, at Colombo's in Eagle Rock on Wednesday nights, and also on Thursday night's at Mr. B's in Burbank. I'm hoping he'll turn up at Charlie O's on Christmas Eve with his band, The Karen Hernandez Trio. That would make the yuletide bright.

(Jimmy Spencer, today, and at "The Smoke House" in 1979)


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