Wisdom, heart, technique, precision, and delivery. Can you say Sherry Wilson Butler? Not by herself, this woman has a band that backs her powerfully soulful sound that knocked me off off my seat in Philadelphia’s own restaurant and jazz lounge known as Relish. Her performance is stellar with a deeply spiritual approach to some of the classics. Her physical movements are fantastically woven into her rifts and scats with flat out powerful vocals. Notably sung, a brilliant rendition of the classic James Brown’s It’s A Man’s World.
This woman sings from her toes, from out of the stratosphere. I love an alto voice. Her contra alto register rivals any soprano vocalist in terms of power, and serious emotion. The room is small yet I thought I was at a huge concert hall. Brilliant! People danced along side the bar while others, like me, sat planted firmly in their seats hanging onto every note. While I enjoyed my appetizers and a cocktail, I sat next to her very supportive husband. He was so moved by the music that he sang along with the background vocals even though he has probably heard her sing more than anyone in the room.
She took me back to a time when I last saw Jimmy Scott at the famed Relish restauranteur’s sleek and swanky spot called Zanzibar. The food was amazing and the entertainment unparallelled at no extra cost. Gone are the days where one could “hop” around Philly to find places with just such gems; jazz, soul, and r&b swinging in a joint. Relish is just that place. Traditional African rhythms with a meankeyboard player, a cold drummer, and an electric bass were also on the menu.
Love, love, loved her back as she warmly embraced me with a kiss on the cheek before I could say, “You sing like nobody’s business.” She effortlessly transported me from my seat to a world known only by some of the most agile jazz vocalists. I told her so. Granted she has sung with some of the greats like Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass, Gerald Veasley, Monnett Suddler, and the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble. Boy, I need to get out more often. Her career spans three decades yet I don’t hear her on the radio. Her voice beckons you and should be heard.
You girls who are studying the vocals of the likes of Mariah Carrie and Beyonce’ should take notes from a local jazz, r&b, soul powerhouse. Yes, you can actually take notes because she teaches vocals at The Clef Club right here in Philadelphia! This is real singing and America’s Got Talent ain’t seen nothin’ until they begin to see artists like Sherry Wilson Butler.
To get inspired you don’t have go far; check locally you may find your gems. Have I inspired you to start working on your next song? If not, go see Sherry Wilson Butler at Relish and write me back to tell me that you finished a song or started one. She will make you want to sing or die trying to duplicate her efforts.
We are lucky she lives in Philadelphia. Maybe you can bring her to your hometown. To hit her up, buy her CD, or find to out where she’ll be next visit her website:www.sherrywilsonbutler.com
215-849-5140 Vocal Lessons held at:
The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts
Publish: Eagle Eye Entertainment