On Friday, Dec. 10, local harmonica legend Corky Siegel, jazz and blues singing sensation Lynne Jordan and Grammy-nominated, Emmy-award winning musical director John Anderson entertained a virtual crowd of nearly 400 attendees with pre-taped musical numbers and live conversations as part of the Levy Senior Center Foundation’s annual holiday Jamming Jean Concert.
This was the second year in a row the trio of friends delivered a rousing celebration of musical treasures using the power of Zoom. The 90-minute concert was sponsored by Symphony of Evanston and offered to the viewing public at no cost. Guests registered online through the foundation’s website and almost immediately received a link to the concert with their confirmation email.
The concert kicked off with an energetic rendition of the feminist declaration “I Don’t Care Watcha Doin’” followed by “Afraid of Love.”
“Afraid of Love” featured Corky playing both the harmonica and the piano thanks to the beauty and convenience of taping and split-screen technology. A later song, “Only Love Will Get Us There,” featured Randy Sabien, the American jazz violinist, composer and musical educator.
The concert was also a fundraiser for the Levy Senior Center Foundation. Attendees were encouraged to donate to the foundation, a deal made sweeter since every online donation made by 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 would be entered in a raffle drawing.
The grand prize was a large basket packed with special treats including a pair of tickets to any Northlight Theatre show of the winner’s choosing. Three additional winners would receive free memberships (or extensions, if the awardee was already a member) to the Levy Senior Center.
Corky Siegel has many musical talents and accomplishments to his credit, but perhaps the most novel is Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues. Five players of Chamber Blues (Jaime Gorgojo on violin, Chihsuan Yang on violin, Dave Moss on viola, Jocelyn Butler-Shoulders on cello and Kalyan Pathak on tabla, which are a pair of hand drums from Asia) joined Corky and Lynne in performing “No One’s Got Them Like I Do.” The mélange of chamber music, jazz, blues and Indian percussion was inventive and captivating.
The concert included a film clip from John Anderson’s 2020 film, “Born in Chicago,” which is the story of a group of white teenage musicians from Chicago who traveled to the city’s South Side music clubs to learn the blues from the masters.
Additional songs followed along with some bantering in real time as well as responding to comments and questions from the audience, courtesy of entries in the chat function on Zoom.
The concert allowed the audience to feel as if they were hanging out with a bunch of friends.
By Wendi Kromash as published in the Evanston RoundTable. Ms. Kromash is a member of the Levy Center Foundation Board; she manages and moderates the Levy Lecture Series.