Whenever time permitted, Letty Magsanoc indulged in life’s simple pleasures, like good wine and jazz music. “Is there a nice piano bar in town?” she would ask, adding that she’s fine listening to just a pianist and a singer.
Last October she texted, sounding very excited: “Poch please drop by Annie Brazil’s 82nd birthday show… Am a big fan of Annie. When my husband was still courting me, he used to bring me to this place where she regularly sang. She provided the soundtrack to my love life, hahaha.”
I assumed Letty wanted me to cover Annie’s gig and write about it; and then she sent another text message to say that she hoped to catch up to watch it, too.
When Letty finally arrived ’round midnight, Annie and her three-piece band were on their last few songs. I quickly reached for my pen, got a paper napkin and asked Letty what songs she would like to hear.
She rattled off titles of standards from a bygone era: “‘I Remember You,’ ‘The Folks Who Live on the Hill,’” and a couple more.
Annie glanced at the napkin and repeated the titles to pianist Romy Posadas, who lost no time in signaling bassist Tom Galang and drummer Jorge San Jose what to play.
While Annie was singing “I Remember You,” I asked the waiter to offer Letty some red wine. As the waiter approached and was about to pour the drink, Letty stopped him and said, “May I see the bottle first?”
Obviously she knew about wines.
In any case, she looked thrilled when Annie joined her at the table and they talked about old times.
She asked Annie: “What was that place in Makati where you used to sing, the one where you could sit on the floor?”
“The Hot Tube,” Annie replied.
I made a French leave, happy at the sight of two ladies who’d been through some interesting times and were now reliving them.
A few days later, Annie’s son, Richard Merk, said that the band returned onstage and Annie sang more of Letty’s requested tunes till the wee hours.