36th Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival in Full Swing: Tuck & Patti (Review)

The repertoire of Tuck and Patti deftly illustrates the purpose of this venue — bring people together across the Americas to celebrate music, love and life.

Tuck & Patti - San Francisco Jazz Festival Review
In Review

Tuck & Patti - San Francisco Jazz Festival

5 out of 4 stars
5 out of 5 stars - 'Outstanding - Starkie!'
    SFJAZZ (Miner Auditorium)
    Tuck Andress guitar
    Patti Cathcart vocals
    Website: sfjazz.org
    Review by

    The 36th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival is in full swing. A kickoff celebration in Hayes Valley featured Beso Negro, Howard Wiley and Extra Nappy live, along with classic films and food trucks. The SF Chronicle has referred to SFJAZZ Center as “one of the most perfect performance spaces ever.” And the variety of performers provides audiences with the best of a “Great Americas Songbook.” The festival closes in the middle of August with Taj Mahal, Otis McDonald and Gregory Porter, among others.

    Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart were featured at SFJAZZ recently, billed as “soulmates,” and truly they are and have been for 30 years as husband and wife, classically trained musicians who produce a memorable sound. Tuck and Patti’s music embraces jazz, R&B and unique interpretations of contemporary standards. The L.A. Times described the couple as “one of the most remarkable pairings in pop and jazz history.”

    Patti says we give up on love too easily. We all must become love warriors. Internationally, “it’s going to take a miracle, and the miracle is you. Take a stand and see this madness through.”

    Curly silver hair flowing, Tuck stands quietly holding his 1953 Gibson L-5 guitar. Patti’s dress is black with long sleeves and she is wearing heels (more about that later). Her face is radiant. Their banter is loving but laced with a lively humor. And the audience is entranced.

    Patti writes many of the songs they record, and the autobiographical thread is clear. As they celebrate 30 years of a loving marriage, they enjoy highlighting their differences. One eats meat; the other is a vegetarian. One drinks a dirty martini from time to time; the other is a teetotaler. One has been known to use curse words; the other does not.

    This concert is about love. You may have come into the performance hall still recovering from the stress of the day as you take your seat with drink in hand, but the warmth emanating from Tuck and Patti onstage allows you to let all else go and remember what is important – the ability to love and be loved. Lyrics interpreted by Patti’s voice and Tuck’s brilliant guitar renew that theme throughout the evening:

    Lost in a reverie with you…When I saw you it was love at first sight…
    come drink this wine, come taste this joy… Warmth of your smile is like
    the warmth of the sun… this will be our year; it took a long time…
    When I’m alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again…
    I’m free again…Whatever words I say, I will always love you…
    When all is said and done, all we have is love.

    Patti treasures the music of Jimi Hendrix, and feels that she channels Hendrix at times. Her version of “Castles Made of Sand” is breathtaking.

    At some point, Patti said the shoes (her heels) would come off, and they did, just before two encores. Why did she need to remove her lovely black heels? Well, she explained all that to us in a mesmerizing a cappella blues number. You see, she loves her high-heeled shoes even though she knows “this is no place for my poor feet to be.” She just had to have her high-heeled shoes. So she’s onstage singing the high-heeled blues.

    Patti says we give up on love too easily. We all must become love warriors. Internationally, “it’s going to take a miracle, and the miracle is you. Take a stand and see this madness through.”

    SFJAZZ helps one cross borders, span time, live in the moment and experience life outside oneself, according to one fan of this venue. The repertoire of Tuck and Patti deftly illustrates the purpose of this venue, — bring people together across the Americas to celebrate music, love and life.

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    Jeanne Powell
    Jeanne is a published poet and essayist. She holds degrees from Wayne State University and the University of San Francisco. Jeanne has taught in the CS, UB and OLLI programs at universities in the City. Her books in print include MY OWN SILENCE and WORD DANCING from Taurean Horn Press. [Web site]