Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz Club | Bel Air, CA | March 1, 2016 | Words & Photos: Cortney Armitage |
The night was never going to be a normal one. Brenna Whitaker’s voice is the something that comes along once in a lifetime: beautiful, bold, resonant, soulful, emotive and colored with shades of jazz’s glorious past and its flourishing present. It might even be said that hers has incredible magical powers because that voice bewitched and silenced a dinner crowd at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz Club. And the siren’s charm? Evident in her banter, as well. Engaging the crowd and cracking jokes about crab cakes and marriage, Brenna’s eyes wandered over to a booth in the back. “Normally Billy Dee Williams from Star Trek sits over there.” she said. He wasn’t there last night, even though there was a voice that corrected her. “Star Wars! Star Wars!!” That voice belonged to John Mayer. “John Mayer!?! What the shit?!?” Brenna gaped and it wasn’t soon after he jumped on to the stage, took over on guitar and jammed for two songs. After he left, Brenna Whitaker, a girl from Kansas City, closed her set with a cover of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” And after experiencing what just happened, when she sang the lyrics, “And the dreams that you dare to dream of / Really do come true” echoed as a statement of truth and not just a wish.