Music can be timeless. Friday night at the Brothers Lounge Wine Bar was an embodiment of that truth. The smooth, hypnotic jazz that filled the crowded house mixed with a lively, playful spirit in both the audience and performers, easily resurrecting a night that likely occurred when the venue was first established back in the late 1950s.
The Klevelanders delivered three sets of musical intrigue that wove through the spirited crowd and pulled your soul into the smooth sounds. Visiting from NYC, The Klevelanders consist of Cleveland natives Brian Kleve on trumpet and flugelhorn and Scott Borchert on keys, with Long Island’s Kate Tron joining on vocals.
With no introduction, Kleve raised his instrument and the smooth sounds of the horn floated into the crowd. The clamor of voices that had reached an almost raucous level tempered, allowing the soulful sound to slip through. The music had begun. Soon, smooth melodies slipped into the fun lilting sounds of a ragtime feel, matching the energy of the audience.
It didn’t take long for the gentlemen on stage to reach into their Cleveland roots and tip their hats to the Cleveland Indians. The only television in the space was tuned into the game and no matter how good the music was, Cleveland’s die hard sports fans couldn’t help but pay attention to its progress. The Klevelanders dove into Randy Newman’s playful ode to Cleveland, Burn On, while the team on the field secured their victory—unlike the version of the team introduced at the beginning of the 1989 film Major League, which used the song as its opening theme.
After their ode to the ballpark, Kate Tron joined Kleve and Borchert on stage with such timeless classics as Mr. Sandman and Dream A Little Dream. Her sultry voice demanded attention and the crowd obliged. The charisma between her and Kleve was powerful, adding to the musical intrigue and leaving no doubt that the passion between the two went deeper than the music.
Following a short break, Kleve and Borchert returned to the stage with their jazzy musings. Shortly into the second set, Brian’s mother took over on keys. The mother-son duo delved into a number that obviously carried a deeper meaning for the two performers. As Brian closed his eyes, you could see the music carry him to a space from years gone by. At the end of the song, he embraced his mother as she left the stage.
As the night progressed and The Klevelanders dove into a third set, the space had finally cleared out a bit. The soft clamor that had continuously presented itself beneath the music dissipated and the sound of the horn truly took center stage. In the delivery of each song, every artist on stage allowed the emotion of the music to spill forth. The notes played and the words sung came from a place deeper than their infallible musical inclinations. The spirit and sentiment of the source of these songs came through in their delivery.
Jazz is something I have always appreciated and enjoyed, but not something I have ever truly studied. While I can’t put the names to the songs that filled the air on Friday night, I know their notes and melodies—timeless songs that transport people to days gone past. They bring memories. As I looked around the audience, it was evident in the faces and smiles throughout the crowd, I was not alone in reminiscing. As I took a moment to look inward, I found myself transported to my Grandma Kelly’s apartment, where I spent countless hours playing rummy at the dining room table—yet, some of my favorite moments were when she would take to the keys on her organ in the spare bedroom with her raspy, smoke-stained voice. In those moments she embedded enduring memories I will cherish for a lifetime. The Klevelanders smooth and timeless performance at Brothers Lounge Wine Bar stirred those moments, among others, for me and for that I am ever thankful.