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Kitt Lough's Jazz heats up Tuesdays at Seville
Jazz heats up Tuesdays at Seville
Kitt Lough and friends bring back classics
Votive candles flickered on each of the white-draped tables. Smartly-dressed waiters slalomed through the tight room carrying trays of Oysters Seville to hungry patrons. The gas light lanterns spread a dim orange glow through the room.
Then, the warm tone of a jazz piano, and a chanteuse whose silky tone was as mood-mellowing as a nice glass of cognac. If not for the bacon-smothered Oysters Seville, the room could be Berlin, circa Marlene Dietrich, or Paris, circa Edith Piaf.
Instead, it was an ordinary Tuesday evening at Seville Quarter, where vocalist Kitt Lough led a jazz trio though the standards of the Great American Songbook, while a cadre of oldsters, jazz cats and hands-holding couples in the crowd basked in the mellow mood.
“We wanted to create a place where people in Pensacola and visitors to Pensacola know they can come every week and find quality live jazz, similar to what they might find in a club in New York City or Chicago,” said Lough, a 1980 graduate of Pensacola Catholic High School. “The songs are mini-conversations about heartache and love and joy and excitement.”
On cue, Lough launches into the timeless Bobby Darin classic, “Beyond the Sea.”
“Somewhere beyond the sea / somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
and watches the ships that go sailing.”
Lough coos the song with all the intimacy that the song suggests, lulling lovers in the crowd to huddle even closer. Behind and beside her, a trio of musicians gently push the melody along, swaying with every note.
There are about 50 people packed into the tiny Lili Marlene room at Seville Quarter, where Lough and an ever-rotating cast of musicians hold court weekly.
Many dined during the music; others just sipped wine and filled up on the songs from their youth.
“For people of a certain age, you can’t find this music anywhere else,” said Brenda Bell, a regular Tuesday night attendee along with husband, Tommy Bell. “People come down here every week, and you get to know them. It’s a friendship type of thing, through music.”
The Bells are both members of the Jazz Society of Pensacola, which is not affiliated with the Tuesday series.
Then, the Bells — both older than 50, as was much of the crowd — quieted while Lough and her musicians launched into the classic, “Dream a Little Dream Of Me.”
But not everyone was quiet. Midway, a cellphone rang in the crowd.
“Hello,” Lough sang softly, keeping in tune with the music.
“It’s for you,” someone in the crowd yelled out.
“Of course it is.” Then, next verse without missing a note.
It helps to be surrounded by players. Real players.
Her regular musical accompaniment consists of Gino Rosaria on keyboard and Tom Latenser on upright bass.
But on the most recent Tuesday, Lough gave her regulars the night off to play with a special group of friends — Pensacola pianist Dave Shelander, and New Orleans musicians Ed Wise on bass and Larry Scala on guitar.
She’s known the New Orleans players for years, playing the jazz circuit throughout the region and befriending numerous musicians.
“I just feel blessed to be surrounded by such world-class musicians,” Lough said. “And I don’t just mean tonight. I mean every night I play.”
Lough, who has two albums of jazz standards to her credit, performed in Nashville in the 1990s and early 2000s, returning to Pensacola in 2004 to care for her mother. She’s been a constant in the local jazz scene ever since.
And she’s dedicated to the songs of old.
“The melodies, the connect,” Lough said. “There’s a certain vibe. I feel them, and I want to help other people feel them. That’s the point of music. It’s not how great your chops are or hitting all the right notes. It’s about communicating the soul of a song.”