Best Outdoors Dining to Music
The Gourmet Ghetto is lined with one delectable eatery after another, but on Tuesday nights the most savory treat is aural rather than oral, as the great jazz crooner Ed Reed regales diners with chestnuts from the American Songbook. Defusing the Cheeseboard's incessant bustle with perfectly calibrated ballads, Reed is a jazz singer in the truest sense, a master at phrasing who bends lines according to a lyric's emotional contours. When he started his weekly Cheeseboard residency three years ago backed by the sparkling piano work of Brian Cooke and supple, singing bass lines of Robb Fisher, Reed was an obscure figure to even the most ardent Bay Area jazz fans. These days, at the age of 79, he's performing at the nation's most prestigious jazz clubs, and getting set to release his second CD, The Song Is You, a shiver-inducing set of standards produced by Berkeley-raised multi-instrumentalist Peck Allmond. His career bloomed late because Reed spent his youth and middle age plagued by addiction. Somehow he emerged with his soul and talent intact, and he's generously sharing his hard-won wisdom with upper Shattuck's al fresco diners.