Never too old for sax

The CD Jason Peterson DeLaire recorded with his grandmother on piano

The CD Jason Peterson DeLaire recorded with his grandmother on piano


We were so clever following the Michael Bolton concert last Saturday at Mohegan Sun. Instead of battling a throng of people at the parking valet station, we sidled over to the charming little Elixir bar to unwind over a cocktail. By the time we stepped out of the hotel to wait for our car, the crowd had thinned considerably.
Parked on the sidewalk was a Bentley. When you drive a Bentley you don’t hand the keys to the parking attendant, I suppose.
Walking toward the Bentley was someone I recognized, the saxophone player in Michael Bolton’s band. He looked at the hood ornament and shouted to his companion, whom I immediately recognized as one of the backup singers, “It’s a Bentley.”
I couldn’t resist approaching him.
“I thought for sure that was your Bentley,” I said.
“I wish,” he responded, or something like that.
“Hey,” I said, “anyone who plays the sax like you do should be driving a Bentley.”
I meant it.
Over our drinks moments earlier my wife and I agreed we had come away from the concert with two primary feelings. One was a new found appreciation for Michael Bolton’s voice. My God. The other was the enormous talent of the sax player.
A third, I should add, was how generous Michael Bolton was with sharing the spotlight with his associates, especially the guy on sax. Good for him, and even better for us. If anything, as impressive as was Bolton, the saxophone player stole the show. And I was so pleased to have the opportunity to tell him that.
We chatted a bit more and when the sax guy got into his car to leave, he called me over. “I have something for you,” he said.
It was a CD. “I don’t play sax on this,” he said, “I sing. And my 90-year-old grandmother plays piano. That’s her,” he added with pride, pointing to the photo on the cover.
He certainly did not have to do that and I was touched.
We popped in the CD for the ride home and wound up wishing we had a longer drive. Hard to believe, but this guy may sing even better than he plays saxophone.
His name is Jason Peterson DeLaire, or J.P. DeLaire, according to his card.
My instant reaction upon hearing the first track, “The Lady is a Tramp,” was how clean and clear his voice is, the auditory version of sipping the cool, pure water of a mountain stream from your cupped hand, I thought. He sings with an ease over the delightful playing of grandma Jeanne Arland Peterson, the arrangements of the familiar songs just different enough to make them their own.
In addition to the opening number, we heard “My Romance,” “The Summerwind,” “Fly me to the Moon,” and “What a Wonderful World,” before we were home, actually sitting in the driveway for a few minutes enjoying that last one right to the end.
This CD is all we’ve been listening to since. Other cuts are: “Smile,” “The Days of Wine and Roses,” “Satin Doll,” “I’ve Got it Bad,” “The Shadow of your Smile,” and “But Beautiful.”
Please don’t ask me to pick my favorite.
The CD liner has this dedication:
Jason and Jeanne would like to thank: God for this wonderful opportunity to make music together, and all our beautiful family and friends!
Which leads me to believe perhaps Jason’s niceguyness trumps even his singing and playing.

Ed Ackerman