Arts & Entertainment

Jazzy trio BlueZette turns back clock on music

Don't be deceived by the name BlueZette.

This duo of Cathy Kelly and Trish Thompson along with their pianoman Steve Haberman don't really sing the blues.

Well mostly they don't.

Kelly and Thompson harmonize so well on a range of retro pop that Tri-City music lovers follow them like the Pied Piper.

BlueZette's repertoire is actually a mix of retro pop, easy listening and Broadway tunes, as well as a growing number of songs Haberman composed.

An evening of their music could trigger fond memories of a time when Sergio Mendes, Burt Bacharach and the Fifth Dimension topped the charts.

"I think our appeal is mostly to the baby boomers because many of the songs we sing are '60s or '70s pop tunes," Kelly said. "We've actually developed a nice little following from the Tri-Cities to Spokane during the past couple of years."

For 10 years Kelly and Thompson knew each other as members of the Children's Hospital Guild. When a friend asked Thompson if she had any ideas for music to use for a fundraising fashion show for Children's Hospital she met Haberman for the first time.

"When I met up with Steve to discuss the music for the show we ended up jamming for a few hours," Thompson said. "We had a great time working together for the fashion show. I hadn't performed much since high school so it was a hoot for me."

Kelly, on the other hand, has been singing in rock bands since high school. She was the lead singer for Mudshark before she began singing with Thompson in 2004.

"The songs we started singing together were definitely more appealing to me than rock music," Kelly said. "And it was a venue I knew would allow me to show more of what I could do vocally."

Kelly is the more outgoing and vivacious of the two, and Thompson is shy and reserved. Put them together with Haberman and the blend is as smooth and effervescent as champagne.

"I had been out of the loop of performing for years so I was a little nervous about singing (publicly) again," Thompson said.

But Kelly's gregarious nature gave Thompson all the encouragement she needed to get past the initial hesitation, and it didn't take long for the two to start playing off each other as naturally as sisters.

Haberman doesn't mince words when he describes his cohorts. "These two women simply sparkle when they sing together," he said. "They have everything going for them. They are beautiful, talented, fun to watch and I love being their piano guy."

When Thompson isn't singing she spends time with her four children, ages 10 to 20, and her husband Bob, and also finds time to sell fashions online. Kelly is single and has two children, 11 and 13. She is an esthetician with Nouveau Day Spa in Kennewick.

Despite their busy lives on stage and off, the BlueZette trio, named after the jazz standard Bluesette, also finds time to write lyrics, compose music and recorded a debut CD, BlueZette, earlier this year. The CD is all cover tunes but Haberman said their next release will be at least 50 percent original music.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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