By Sandi Durell
When you’re in the presence of the Great Diva, be assured you’re in for a Diva Hug, an AHC signature. And going to the movies jazz style employed a hug in every song. Ann is not only one of the great jazz interpreters, both vocally and on piano, but I always get a kick from her wry and funny sense of humor that accompanies her individual style.
The pitch perfect Diva opened with “From This Moment On” from Kiss Me, Kate, written by the great Cole Porter . . . a more than suitable opener for this season celebrating Pride Month. From swing to ballad, with a little peppering of scat here and there, her exceptional vocal range moves effortlessly whether it’s a very sensual “The Nearness of You” (Hoagy Carmichael, Ned Washington – Romance in the Dark) or a plaintive, sad pairing of “Two for the Road” (Henry Mancini, Leslie Bricusse) / “Moon River” (Johnny Mercer – Breakfast at Tiffany’s); Rodgers & Hart’s exquisite and emotional “My Funny Valentine” (Babes in Arms) or Irving Berlin’s masterpiece “Blue Skies” that appeared in the first film talkie in 1927, The Jazz Singer.
Ann offered up some amusing tidbits when she got a call to record Ray Charles’ “Come Rain or Come Shine” for Robert DeNiro’s movie The Good Shepherd that also landed her an appearance in the film. Imagine being kissed on the cheek, the neck by DeNiro (pre #MeToo), and working on a set with Angelina Jolie!
Not to leave her audience wanting, AHC gathered up words from the audience to incorporate into another signature . . . Improv Movie Medley and after a long Ommmmm, she was ready to tackle what turned into a living, breathing Happy Pride from Your Diva Queen song encompassing words and names offered up serendipitously.
Moving away from the piano center stage, a very emotional “Over The Rainbow” (Harold Arlen – The Wizard of Oz) blessed the world a capella.
Without a doubt, AHC has a penchant for taking songs we know and love and making them her own. Her arrangements and delivery invade one’s senses with that special touch of brilliance.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
June 29, 2019 – Ann Hampton Callaway: Jazz Goes to the Movies at www.Feinstein’s/54Below.com 254 West 54 Street (Cellar) NYC