Open Studios 2: Alexis Cole and Daisy Jopling. When people talk about the music scene in Peekskill, two names immediately come up - jazz singer Alexis Cole and classical/rock fusion violinist Daisy Jopling. While both perform internationally (last year Sony flew Alexis to Tokyo to perform for a Golden Globes party, and I never know where on the planet Daisy's headed off to) they both also perform a LOT in our area. At Peekskill's Open Studios weekend, Daisy and Alexis performed back-to-back sets at Energy Movement Center. And between their two solo sets, they performed together - a rare treat.
Daisy's set was first. She has a large local following, and the first floor studio at EMC was packed. Daisy literally had them dancing in the aisles. Girlfriend knows how to put on the moves, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She's a fine musician with an ever-expanding repertoire. Next year I hope she brings her whole band!
When it was time for Alexis to come on, we saw that she and Daisy were wearing similar, beautiful hand-painted dresses. They were modeling the fashion art of Peekskill's Jeorjia Shea! The grand piano was way at the end of the studio, and Daisy and Alexis pushed it up to the performance area and hauled around the amps and repositioned other equipment before anybody realized that it would've been nice if someone else had jumped in and spared the two dressed-up performing ladies the task of furniture moving! But it was tellingly un-diva-esque behavior.
Alexis always has me from note one. That day, the moment she started to play and sing, it was obvious she had the whole room. I love hearing her fronting the Jazz Knights at Eisenhower Hall, but there's something so exquisitely intimate when it's just her - playing piano and singing jazz standards.
It's a mark of true professionalism when two musicians who've never played together before can improvise and spin magic. Daisy wove her way through Alexis's songs with delicacy and grace, listening intently, never stepping on the lyrics, filling in the musical spaces while matching Alexis's nuances. It was very special. It was beautiful. They brought down the house.
I took photos with my new Droid. Obviously I'm not that proficient with it yet. But I'm including the out-of-focus shot of Daisy & Alexis in their Jeorjia Shea dresses. Hope you can see them ok.
More Open Studios (very delayed) blogging coming soon!