Jeff Lisenby Concert Review
by Prof. Joan Sommers

On Thursday, January 17th, Jeff Lisenby's jazz accordion concert at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Performing Arts Center.

If you were one of the many people who attended the Jeff Lisenby Concert last night at UMKC, you do not need this report; if you did not attend, I am sorry. You missed out on a wonderful evening of really great music-making led by an outstanding accordionist. Jeff grew up in the Kansas City area, got his musical education here and all the while was busy performing. After moving to Nashville , he established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians in that area, too, just as he had been in KC before moving.

Last night he included three well-known local jazz musicians:
Doug Auwarter on drums, Danny Embry on guitar, and Greg Whitfield on bass. His daughter, Jaclyn Brown, who is a successful songwriter/vocalist, also joined the group on three pieces, a couple of which were her own.

Jaclyn is young, vivacious, friendly, a great promoter, but above all, a very fine singer with a beautiful voice who knows how to sell a song; she was truly an outstanding addition to the overall success of the four veteran professional musicians led by Jeff on Thursday evening. She had presented her own show the night before at the popular KC spot known as Bar Natasha.

Jeff Lisenby has the technique to carry out all his musical ideas. He includes great jazz arrangements of both standard tunes as well as his own compositions and shares the limelight equally with all members of the group.

Even when others are carrying the solo spot, Jeff provides that extra-special accompaniment with artistic interest and excitement, always inspiring the group towards musical excellence throughout. Last night's concert was laid-back, convivial and intimate, in a space similar to a club; it offered a perfect climate for a warm connection among the members of the audience and the musicians, and gave Jeff ample opportunity to introduce the repertoire with short, sometimes funny, anecdotes.

It was a great evening for everyone and as one departing member of the audience kept saying, "We need to do this once a month!" No one wanted to leave and all agreed.

Thank you, Jeff, Jaclyn, Doug, Danny and Greg for a wonderful musical experience; we loved it!

Prof. Joan Sommers