Fri, Aug 22, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Making jazz softer than velvet

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tuck (Andress) and Patti (Cathcart Andress) make the kind of sentimental soft jazz that people fall in love to on TV soap operas. Like on Dawson's Creek, for example, when the sparks between Joey and Pacey almost burned down a forest cabin to the duo's Takes My Breath Away in one of the show's more noteworthy moments.

But before dismissing Tuck and Patti's music as kitsch, consider that they have faced this charge since joining forces in 1978 and always managed to come out looking fresh and original and anything but sappy. They even answer the question of how they avoid becoming kitsch on their Web site by simply saying that they play and sing each note "from the heart." That's actually an extraordinarily cheesy answer to a good question, but when listening to Patti's immensely rich voice and Tuck's virtuoso guitar playing it becomes quite believable.

Patti was raised in gospel choirs, which accounts for the earnestness and deep, bassy quality of her voice, while Tuck has established himself as one of the best finger-picking guitarists of our day. Tuck has even written at length about his finger-picking technique, discussing the angle and arch of index finger knuckles among other topics, for his hundreds of students. If anything, though, the bright tone of his guitar is what stands out in their music, and is also what makes it seem a bit too polished, or sappy, depending on how you want to describe it.

Tuck and Patti will be playing at the National Concert Hall tonight at 7:30pm. Tickets cost between NT$400 and NT$3,000 and are available at the venue.

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