Diana Jacobs Band

The Citizen

This year marks 35 that Diana Jacobs has been playing live music in Auburn, so few are more qualified to say the area's music scene is surging.

The Diana Jacobs Band, which performs at CC's Tavern Friday, will celebrate the occasion by adding a few covers to its live repertoire, such as Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" and Betty Wright's "Clean Up Woman."

"We like to take old classic tunes and give them a new twist," Jacobs said.

The band is also writing a new album of original songs for release next fall. It'll be the first record to feature the band's current lineup of Mike Burns on bass, Sue Ferlenda on vocals and keyboards, Dave Kuykendall on keyboards, Dave Chitambar on drums, Jacobs on vocals and keyboards, and her husband, Mettis Jacobs, on guitar and vocals.

Diana and Mettis, who've been playing together for 30 years, have played at CC's since the Columbus Street establishment was called Huckleberry's and Big Kahuna's. Prior to that it went under the name Perone's, and the duo was once a fixture there for 22 straight Fridays, she said.

The Jacobs have also gone through their share of names, such as Groove Theory and Midnite Mood, but The Diana Jacobs Band suits their style best, she said.

"It doesn't convey anything," she said. "It allows us to be what we are: A unique combination of R&B, soul and blues. We don't fit into any particular category."

The band has had to pick up its game over the past five years, Jacobs said, as Auburn's music scene underwent a growth spurt. Not only are there more places and times to catch bands, but the area's reputation is traveling — concert-goers in Syracuse and Geneva have commented to her about Auburn's trove of talent, she said.

She just hopes local listeners seize on the opportunity and come out for a show.

"Music is something special," she said. "When you get a bunch of people enjoying live music, it's a really positive energy."

Syracuse New Times

Diana Jacobs & Midnite Mood. (independent).

Jacobs has got the kind of conviction in her voice that will stop you in your tracks. When she soars on songs like the Woodrow Buddy Johnson tune “Since I Fell For You,” you can feel the weight of her words on your psyche, digging in with every wail of “Lord have mercy.” It’s Jacobs’ pipes that most immediately impress on this self-titled album, yet her Midnite Mood backing band mates are no slouches, either, as they lay a brilliant foundation for Jacobs to build upon. The combination makes for a seriously soulful record that will get asses shaking or slow dancers cuddled in close.

Guitarist-vocalist Mettis and Jacobs make for a powerful band core. With more than 25 years’ performance experience together in Central New York, the married couple’s connection is clear within the music, as their musical lines weave and align beautifully. Jim VanArsdale adds guitar, keys and vocals, Mike Burns is on bass, Sue Ferlenda contributes backing vocals and David Chitambar is behind the kit solidifying the soul. Special guest Alphanso Thomas also kicks up the album’s emotional levels when his smooth sax work glosses over “Remember to Love.”

“Come on Over” is a playful track where the Jacobs bounce lyrics off one other, while the group’s take on “Kissin’ My Love” is appropriately faithful to Bill Withers’ version, with just enough originality to set it apart. For lovers of sexy soul music, attendance at the band’s next local gig—on Nov. 17, 8:30 p.m., at Bridge Street Tavern, 109 Bridge St.—should be a no-brainer. For more information, call 488-0936.

The Syracuse Post Standard

Ask the members of Diana Jacobs and Midnite Mood to pick the best description of their sound and the buzz grows like a busy beehive.

The combination of genres tumble quickly from vocalist Jacobs, her husband, guitarist Mettis Jacobs, and band mates Jim Van Arsdale, Dave Chitambar, Mike Burns and Sue Ferlanda as they gathered in The Post-Standard studio on Monday, Sept. 10, to perform the original song "Wastin' Time" for the Music Notes Performance series.

Blues. Funky blues. Funky blues with a touch of R&B.

"Metti-tude," conclude the non-Jacobs members of the band, citing Mettis' confident attitude.

Mettis and Diana first started in a band together 28 years ago. A CD, "Jacob's Ladder," came out in 2004. A second, self-titled album, is scheduled for release on Oct. 26, at a 7 p.m. party at Springside Inn,
6141 West Lake Road, Auburn.

Asked to pick out the best thing about the band, the Jacobs concur.

"We have a happy energy," says Diana.

"Yes, when we're playing out, we have an energy," seconds Mettis. "The best thing about the band is us (musicians)."

Diana says she likes to point out the band's "dynamic vocals and hot rhythm section."

"Mettis and I do a lot of duets on R&B songs," she says. "Sue and I get to do the female vocals songs."

The band plays from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Springside Inn; 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 21 at Legends Tavern, 34 S Cayuga St., Union Springs; and 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 28 at Suzy's Tavern, 346 West Genesee St., Auburn.

The Syracuse Post Standard

Auburn singer, pianist and songwriter Diana Jacobs lets her love show with "How Lovely," her first solo CD. Jacobs addresses letting her daughter soar into the world in the pretty "Caitlyn's Song." On "David's Song," she's sure her son is ready to demonstrate grace and strength. "If God's eye is on the sparrow, He'll surely keep our dove safe from harm and fill her life with love," Jacobs sings on the former. "Walk on with hope and trust in Him and you'll be made strong enough to soar on wings like an eagle," she sings in the latter. Jacobs' voice and piano complement each other, always the right matching color. Her song "I Thank Him" starts with quiet praise on the piano and ends with a pleasing crescendo of her passionate vocals. On the last song, "Waitin' on You Jesus," she shows an entertaining style that's part Gospel gospel, part show tune and totally joyful. Catch a show: Jacobs plays a CD release concert at 2 p.m. today at the Christian Missionary and Alliance Church, 630 N. Seward Ave., Auburn. There's no admission fee.

The Syracuse Post Standard

Sammy nominee introducing CD at concert Tuesday, September 09, 2008 Diana Jacobs will introduce her first solo CD album in a free concert Sept. 21. The show begins at 2 p.m. at the Christian Missionary & Alliance Church, 630 N. Seward Ave. The Roosevelt Memorial Baptist Church Men's Choir of Auburn also will perform. Jacobs was nominated for a Sammy in 2004 for her song "I Thank Him." The new CD, titled "How Lovely," features five of Jacobs' songs and five of her favorite worship songs. The CD will be available online at www.dianajacobsband.com, at Speno Music on Genesee Street, Auburn, and Borders at Carousel Center. For more information, contact Jacobs at 283-7361 or e-mail mettisanddi@yahoo.com.