We’ve all heard of those quaint bars and dreamy restaurants that exude an old-world charm, with a dapper pianist at the keys, churning out one heavenly jazz number after another. Up until the early 2000s, Spencer Day was that guy – self-taught, practiced, and waiting to be discovered. And then, thanks to a sweet twist of fate, and to CBS television network’s Star Search, his remarkable superpower was brought to light, and he made it into the big leagues. Today, he’s the winner of San Francisco Academy of Art University’s competition for the best original song (2005), and the maker of exquisite music that is a rare blend of jazz, classical, folk, and pop.
And come 16th of June, he’s all set to say hello to San Francisco! If you, like us, cannot wait to lose yourself in some of his soulful numbers (sung live!), then head to Feinstein’s at The Nikko at 8:00 PM on Friday. But! In case you can’t (or don’t) make it on the 16th, don’t worry – Day’s all prepped up to offer music lovers a second round of his great music on Saturday, the 17th of June. That’s two sessions of fantastic tracks for all of us.
On an interesting side note, when Day was asked to describe his musical influences and styles, his response was “Chet Baker meets Paul Simon.” That’s probably the crispest way to explain how Day’s tracks effortlessly combine the best of the old and the new.
I remember the first time I heard one of his numbers (it was Till You Come to Me, from Day’s popular album Vagabond). My immediate reaction was – this reminds me of the 20th century. And if you’ve already heard this piece, you’ll understand why I thought so. His sonorous, full-toned voice stood out amidst the boisterous mix of accompanying instruments, and I was overcome by an urge to snap my fingers and tap my feet to the gripping and comfortable rhythm. From there, it was only a hop, skip, and a jump away to Day’s other famous (and lesser known) songs. With each new track, I discovered that even for those uninitiated in the nitty-gritties of music, Day’s numbers have a certain something that is nearly impossible to forget.
This, perhaps, is because Spencer Day spent a good many years drinking in the best of legends like Cole Porter, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and George Gershwin. Also, when you draw your inspiration from the masters, like Spencer Day did, it’s hard not to have some magic in your work. Also, the fact that Day’s music has invited comparisons to other noteworthy artists like Jamie Cullum and Harry Connick, Jr. only stands as further testimony to his musical prowess.
And, to further cement the truth of how beautiful Day’s music is, here’s a little something for you, if you haven’t heard it already – Somewhere on The Other Side. With its moving lyrics backed by a powerful vocal that has some good music for company, this is the perfect song to bridge the gap between now and the big night at Feinstein’s at The Nikko!
Photo by Reisig Taylor