Kings Beach couple to grace Carnegie Hall stage
Seasoned vocalist Jan Short and long-time bassist Jay Grauer, two of the three members of the Jan Short Trio, practice the Beatles’ “In My Life” in the living room of their Kings Beach home. They are one week from taking center stage for an acoustic performance at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York.
“The unique thing about us – we’re doing it with no amplification,” said Grauer.
The Jan Short Trio prefers the straight acoustics of Carnegie Hall’s smaller 500-seat room – Weill Recital Hall- a favorite of renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma, where they will perform Oct. 14.
The trio will play a variety of music, from jazz to pop to standard tunes, including works by George Shearing, Willie Nelson and Jan Short herself. Though Grauer is symphonically trained, the band won’t play any classical music for this weekend’s performance.
Short grew up in a musical family, where she says she was “raised on the stage in Vegas.” Short has a 3.5 octave voice, reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline or Sarah Vaughn. From tribute shows at the Biltmore to singing “The National Anthem” at Lakers and Clippers games, Short has extensive vocal experience.
“If somebody can’t sing it, I can sing it,” Short said.
Grauer’s resume includes the Congressional Army Band in Washington D.C., more than 135 motion picture calls, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, numerous recordings and freelance symphonic work. He has played on movie soundtracks from “E.T.” to “Aladdin” to “Out of Africa,” and even worked with Barbara Streisand. Grauer was also a band teacher in Orange County for 30 years.
“For me [playing Carnegie] sums up a career of music – 53 years of professionally playing,” said Grauer.
Next year, Grauer will have been playing bass for 60 years.
The Jan Short Trio has been together 15 years, and includes Short, Grauer and pianist Joanna Grauer. However, for the Carnegie performance, in place of Joanna Grauer, Mike Renzi will accompany Short and Jay Grauer on keyboard.
Mike Renzi has been a musical director for “Sesame Street” and “All My Children”. He has also played for Jack Jones, Lena Horne and Peggy Lee.
Short and Grauer will add to their New York adventure by driving a rental van from Tahoe to New York, because carrying a bass aboard an airplane can be quite a hassle, Grauer said. In planning everything from travel details to publicity fliers, enjoying the creative aspect of the music itself can be difficult, he said.
The trio was asked to play Carnegie Hall several years before, Grauer said, and after facing a couple obstacles, including weather, are finally now able to accept their original invitation.
Though Short and Grauer met in Los Angeles and have been married 15 years, retirement, as they call it, brought them to Tahoe the year they were married.
The couple is active with animal and environmental organizations in the area.
Short worked on the album, “Music to Save Lake Tahoe,” and donated all proceeds to the Tahoe Research Group.
“I dream a dream of Tahoe wherever I may go, I dream a dream of Tahoe in the sunshine or in snow,” Jan Short sings from her CD, with lyrics by Dr. Charles Goldman.
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