Saturday, July 7, 2018

Motor City Vibe Jazzes Up The Carlton Room -- Debbie Duncan @ the O

Northland jazz fans were treated to yet another fine evening of dining and music at the Oldenburg House last night. Center stage, Debbie Duncan of the Twin Cities performed, backed by Chris Lomheim on keyboard, Matt Mobley on the stand up bass and Glenn "Swanny" Swanson keepin' time on the percussions.

The perfect weather enticed guests to take their time before heading inside to take their seats. Beneath the blue skies and brilliant sunlight the lush vegetation glowed with special brilliance as we strolled about the magic gardens. Aromatic flavors wafted through the air as Chef Paul prepared appetizers and sides on the grill outside and the ovens within.

A+ Pianist Chris Lomheim
This leisurely mood carried over to the beginning of the show as the backing band warmed us up before inviting Debbie Duncan to take the stage. Ms. Duncan's MN Music Awards are numerous, including best female jazz vocalist and best female performer, and in her first number she showed her range, singing "I'm In Love," a song off her new CD. At the first instrumental break there were loud cheers followed by applause that gave way to instrumental solos accompanied by scat. The audience was clearly revved.

The first set included Cy Coleman's "The Best Is Yet To Come", "Blame It On My Youth" and a song from the film State Fair, "Might As Well Be Spring.  Featured songs in the second set include Oscar Brown's "Dat Dere" (a song about a child asking too many questions, like children do) and Billie Holliday's "Fine and Mellow."

As Ms. Duncan sang "Dat Dere" my mind went back to a time when our own son was asking questions all the time. On one occasion he asked Susie a "why" question which had an complicated answer that she was elaborating on when he interrupted with yet another question: "Do dinosaurs eat worms?" Which brings to mind Art Linkletter's Kids Say the Darndest Things.

On the culinary front, the evening begins with an appetizer plate that featured olives, cheese balls, microgreens and other delights. During the intermission our main plate was served, Chicken Marseilles accompanied by bacon-wrapped grilled asparagus. Glenn took a moment to welcome us and then introduced his better half, Emily, who brought Emily Lomheim to the stage followed Debbie Duncan's Detroit sister who assists her.

At the evening's end --where did the time go? -- many of the patrons stood to their feet for another standing O at the O.

Debbie will be back tonight. It was packed out last night, so I do not know if there are any seats left but you've got an appetite for jazz, the Oldenburg House is the place where it's cookin'.

See the schedule of upcoming shows here at

Emily Swanson introduces Emily L.
Warming up for the second set. (L to R) Chris, Glenn and Matt.
"Without music, life would be a mistake." --Friedirch Nietzsche

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