Pat Yan­kee re­turns to Lodi for evening of mu­sic, laugh­ter

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By K. Cathey LODI LIV­ING ED­I­TOR

Sev­eral dozen fans turned out on Thurs­day evening to see jazz leg­end Pat Yan­kee as she re­turned to her home­town of Lodi.

Lodi jazz band Cell Block 7 warmed up the crowd at the Ea­gles Hall. Then, band leader Bob Ro­mans asked Yan­kee if she was ready to per­form a few tunes.

“She has to have a drink first,” coro­netist Bob Schulz called out.

“Just one?” Jim Mai­hack of Cell Block 7 fired back.

“Good Lodi wine!” Yan­kee replied. The back and forth con­tin­ued as she took her place at the front of the room. She re­galed her au­di­ence with a story about how Cell Block 7 mem­ber Bob Sakoi’s fa­ther once tried to steal a kiss from her when they were class­mates at Vic­tor School. She wasn’t used to bright lights any­more, she said, be­cause she stays up un­til 3 a.m. and sleeps in ev­ery day.

“When I first met all these guys, they were stand­ing up, but for the past few years they’ve been sit­ting down — in­clud­ing me,” she said, ges­tur­ing to the Lodi mu­si­cians.

Yan­kee first left Lodi in 1944 to pur­sue a ca­reer in show busi­ness. She danced, sang, led a band, landed a movie role, head­lined at Las Ve­gas and more over her nearly eight decades in the in­dus­try.

Now 92, Yan­kee is fi­nally re­tir­ing from the jazz fes­ti­val cir­cuit, but she’ll con­tinue to per­form in Paci­fica.

She was at the Ea­gles Hall to sign copies of her new bi­og­ra­phy, “You Gotta See Your Mama Ev­ery Night,” by Medea Ispho­rd­ing Bern. But she took the time to per­form sev­eral songs, in­clud­ing the one that in­spired the book’s ti­tle, with Schulz — who pre­vi­ously per­formed with Turk Mur­phy and now leads the Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band — and Mai­hack.

Af­ter a hand­ful of songs on Thurs­day, Yan­kee wound down, ready to sign books for her fans. But as the mu­sic qui­eted down, she got the crowd laugh­ing one more time.

“It’s so quiet in here,” she said. “No­body’s drink­ing!” To see video of the per­for­mance, visit www.lodinews.com.

K. CATHEY/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Pat Yan­kee sings for her Lodi fans at the Lodi Ea­gles Hall on Thurs­day.

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