You’ve seen them: pre-pubescent youths graduating with top marks from MIT or Harvard; sitting in the guest’s seat chatting with David Letterman; playing violin with some symphony orchestra; being annoyingly cute and precocious.
Well, I met one. She is seven year old Emily Bear, a piano virtuoso in training, with a resume that is outta sight.
I attended a party honoring one of Chicago’s fiercest fundraisers, powerhouse, and my friend: Donna La Pietra. The event was emceed by her partner Bill Kurtis (they’ve been a couple for years.) It was a wonderful affair with alot of “movers and shakers” in Chicago. Little Emily was introduced to me as an “amazing pianist/composer” fresh off the Ellen Degeneres Show. I bent down to tell her how excited I was to hear her play. She in turn focused on my “cool” black nail polish and various pieces of jewelry – just like any normal little girl… But that’s where the normalcy ended.
She opened with a piece by Debussy, then played an original piece she composed for Ellen (she played it on the show) then she played a little Boogie Woogie tune. She was dressed in a pretty little white dress with cream colored Mary Jane’s. She was as cute as a button. You really wanted to hug her to pieces!
As the evening progressed I was strongly urged to sing with her.
And so I stood by the little wonder and asked her what she wanted to try to play with me.
She proceeded to rattle off the names of about a half dozen Jazz standards – all of which I knew. Unfortunately, I only knew the melodies. I had quite forgotten half the lyrics to most of these tunes. Had I known I would be doing a Jazz set with a seven year old master I woulda brought a fake book! She kept calling out tunes and I kept saying:
I know the song, but I can’t recall the lyrics.
Oh I know the words!
And then she proceeded to feed the lyrics to me (thankfully) as I sang, all the while directing two fully grown jazz musicians as to how she wanted to progress the tune.
Finally she called out “My Funny Valentine” (Phew!) I remembered all of those lyrics. She started playing the tune, I started singing, and again she started feeding the lyrics to me.
Shut up kid! I know this one!
This little Hobbit then directed the two players how she was going to play the tune – just like any bandleader would do. It was a trip! I kept forgetting that I was sitting next to a seven year old and not some seasoned jazz pianist/bandleader. She is a little miracle and very sweet and adorable.
See for yourself and keep a look out for her. What a night! What a duo we were!
P.S. Emily’s parents are big fans of mine. Her mom says she and her husband always catch me & the Shivers whenever we perform in Rockford, IL (her hometown) It’s a small world!
Tags: bill kurtis, chicago, child prodigy, david letterman, donna La pietra, Ellen, Ellen Degeneres, Emily Bear, IL, jazz, Linkedin, Lynne Jordan, lynne jordan & the shivers, lynne jordan and the shivers, My Funny Valentine, Oy Gevalt, rockford, Yiddush
Filed under: In the Life of a Diva