By Brandon HENSLEY
It’s not every day jazz singers are asking around asking for help in calculus right before they’re about to go onstage, but Tricia Tahara is different.
When the time came for her to take the stage Tuesday night at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood, she pulled off her numbers with ease, but not before telling the audience she needed help with the continuity function in calculus.
It was that kind of fun, loose night for Tahara and the other performers, as part of “Corky Hale and Friends: I’m Glad There is You.”
Long-time performer Corky Hale, who sang, played piano and the harp, shared the stage with Tahara, Sally Kellerman, Ariana Savalas and Brenna Whitaker in a 17-song set list that included “Love Potion #9” and “Cry Me a River.”
After Hale’s first song, “Nice and Easy,” she turned around and said to the audience, “You’re still here?”
It’s that kind of easy attitude that makes singing with the others fun for Tahara.
“It’s joyful to have a group of people that are talented and there’s not any cat fighting or anything like that,” said Tahara, who is Hale’s daughter-in-law. “Everybody’s really supportive, and everybody can hold their own so it makes it easy.”
Despite being a well-known singer, having played gigs at Carnegie Hall, Tahara is back at school at Glendale Community College to pursue a degree in pharmacology. After Glendale she will transfer to USC where she will also be in the Thornton School of Music.
Tahara said she’s been interested in pharmacology for a while because “It pays well and you get to be in contact with people.”
But why start now?
“The time will pass no matter what I do with it,” she said. “I’d hate to be four years down the road and say, ‘Oh man, I should have done it.’”
Born in Detroit, Mich., Tahara lives in Glendale with her husband Peter Stoller, in a neighborhood full of Spanish-style houses which she loves. She’s now familiar with the La Crescenta area as well.
“It’s beautiful up there; I love the hills,” she said. The first time she came into Montrose was to go to a pet store, and after getting directions from her friend she found the area to be “quaint without being small-towney.”
Tahara sings jazz and blues – she performed “Billie’s Blues” with Hale and bassist Jim DeJulio, who has played with Frank Sinatra – but she also enjoys hard rock artists like Chris Cornell and Nine Inch Nails.
“There are very few kinds of music that I don’t respond to,” she said.
Tahara said she enjoys playing to both big crowds and more intimate venues, such as Catalina.
“Playing where you can see people’s faces and they can see the sweat on your face, it’s a different feeling … you can’t get away with anything.”
She released an album in 1998 called “Secrets,” and said she’s working on another one currently. As far as becoming a full-blown superstar, it’s not about that anymore for her. She just loves music.
“I used to think you [perform] for notoriety and to be rich and famous or whatever and it isn’t,” she said. “It’s just part of who you are; it’s part of what you do.”