Every now and again, one is presented with a timely event or experience that will remain etched in memory, easily accessible at any time. I had such an experience when I attended a concert at Alexandria, VA's Birchmere headlined by the legendary Maysa. Opening for Maysa were Kendall and Kelvis Duffie, aka Kloud 9, a sensational vocal duo I’d reviewed a while back here at Jazz Review. There on a three-day tour, this duo’s onstage performance was matched only by the production of their smooth album, Yearning 2 Love. They performed various tunes from that album, including "With Me," the tune they used as their opener, as well as other notables such as "Never Knew" and "So Many Reasons" (a tune on which they asked for and received robust audience participation). A most poignant moment came as they performed their finale, "Ready, Willing, Wanting," a song so laced with sensitivity, warmth, and beauty that you could just imagine the number of eyes tearing up in the room.
As if their silky, soulful vocals weren’t enough, these guys are both personable and engaging. Their stage presence is so huge that one simply cannot ignore it in any fashion. Appearing extremely comfortable engaging the audience through direct conversation and eye contact, they are of that increasingly rare breed of entertainer who truly and genuinely enjoys that type of interaction. No "just going through the necessary motions" shenanigans from these guys at all.
The duo was joined here by a pair of backup vocal "nightingales" based in Nashville, Dee Jones and Vida. These darlings were highlighted on a couple of tunes and performed spectacularly, also feeling quite at ease interacting with the audience. Maysa must have been so very proud of her choice of Kloud 9 to precede her and set the mood. While we Maysa fans all know that this vocal luminary has never needed a "warm up" act, her gracious gesture to expose Kloud 9 to the Alexandria, VA, establishment now known all over for its ability to attract the finest crowds and entertainers in smooth jazz (as well as other genres) was well appreciated by all. Kudos to you, Maysa!
Kloud 9 is now in the midst of releasing its next album, Enjoy the Ride, scheduled for release in the U.S. in early 2009. The UK version will be released later this month. By the way, these guys are an absolute smash across the "pond." If this production is anything at all like Yearning 2 Love, it will be more than worthy of a warm embrace and inclusion in the collection of anyone who professes to truly appreciate good R&B/smooth jazz vocals. The duo’s melodic, smooth, romantic, and warm caressing of their material simply mesmerizes. Remember the name, as it suggests where you--and your lover--just might be after experiencing this skilled duo.