I received a sms from Ser today that a good friend of ours made it to the semi finals of Jazz Connect Vocal Competition. I'm terribly chuffed as we've always felt that Amandah is one of the most talented and genuinely wonderful jazz singers we know.
The girls used to hide out in The Regent Hotel to escape the madding crowd after a gig or a big dance workshop ... or for no real excuse at all! Sitting in the old world charm of this quiet hotel, we would spend many long hours giggling like schoolgirls and talking about everything under the sun but usually about dance and music.
The dulcet tones of Amandah's velvety voice and the spirited playing of Mario were our favourite vice. Along with our lime rime and whiskey.
We developed a close friendship with Amandah and when she left, many a tear was shed. Her farewell party was one of the most amazing parties ever. Musicians, singers and dancers (two of us only actually - Ser & I) from almost every genre met at a friend's house. It was the most phenomenal jam session ever. Agents, club owners and TV stations would have cut off their arms to have such a fabulous grouping of talents perform together. There was no egos that night. Everyone jammed. It was mindblowing.
I truly think I have never ever been to a concert or jam session where the quality of performance and talent was so high. From world famous classical violinists to saxophone players to rock guitarists to Indian drummers to jazz singers to dancers ... it was the most open display of talent sharing I have ever been privileged to be a part of. And this all happened because of everyone's love and respect for Amandah. She inspires a generosity of spirit and open-hearted caring by example.
I miss her terribly and I still listen to a special CD she made for me of all my favourite songs she used to sing for me at The Regent. It is one of my prized possessions as it is definitely an original. Like Amandah.
So when I got the news tonight that the incomparable Amandah Jantzen is in a jazz competition and that I should vote for her ... that went without saying. I resolved to be fair to the other semi finalists but deep in my heart, I knew I was predestined to be biased. And unashamedly so. But still, I kept an open mind to listen to all the singers.
There are 8 semi finalists and I had to listen to all of them and vote for each. I will be honest. I truly expected the standard to be much higher. These are the semi finals after all. And I expected to have a hard, moral dilemma trying to be fair to those who are not Amandah. But it was surprisingly easy!
How in the world did some of these people get into the semi finals? Sure they are accomplished singers but some of them are truly nowhere in Amandah's league! And I am not being a biased, over-indulgent friend. I was just that surprised.
What happened? I noticed that some that had rather high votes .. well, I did not think they deserved those ratings. And some who did not receive very high ratings, I thought were much better than those who did. I felt like Simon Cowell in a roomful of Paula Abduls.
I felt rather virtuous and vindicated giving Amandah high marks. There was only one other singer that I thought gave her any real competition - I gave Karin Plato high marks as well.
People, do me a favour. Go listen and vote for Amandah. OK, if you really really have to, you can vote for someone else but I will not like you very much after that. No pressure ...
Here's the address with the sound clips and the semi finalists - http://www.jazzconnect.com/competition/2005
Vote for Amandah! That's AMANDAH JANTZEN. Trust me, she's really all that.