by Joe Regan Jr.
Ari M. J. Silverstein, who presents jazz artists on Saturday in the back room of Pangea Restaurant on Second Avenue in the East Village, featured Barbara Rosene on Saturday, July 11 in a show celebrating her new CD Nice & Naughty. Rosene was supported on the piano by the talented Jesse Gelber and the terrific trumpet player Danny Tobias. Looking stunning in a low cut gown and draped with a boa, Rosene began with a song “It’s Nice To Be Naughty” and then did a an old Spencer Williams song “I’m Wild About That Thing,” both originally sung by Bessie Smith.
Rosene talked about how much she loved Gene Austin and the 78s that were in her father’s collection. The “nice” song she sang was Austin’s “Everything’s Made for Love.“ Rosene paid tribute to Fanny Brice by singing and acting “Cooking Breakfast For the Man I Love,” with love and tenderness. She paid tribute to Ethel Waters with a torchy “Am I Blue,” and Helen Humes with the sad “I Must Have That Man.“
Gerber, at the piano, sang an old naughty song, “Willie the Weeper” which was about drugs. The song was familiar because Cab Calloway adapted that melody for his famous “Minnie the Moocher” (“banging the gong around”).
Rosene also sang an obscure Walter Donaldson song, “Just Like A Meteor Out of the Sky” originally sung by Cliff Edwards. Tobias did a stunning instrumental on “Love Is Just Around the Corner,” bursting the sound barrier in the manner of Maynard Ferguson.
Rosene returned with a C.C. Johnson song introduced by Monette Moore, “Ain’t Much Good in the Best of Men Nowadays” which detailed how poorly she was treated by her man, though she couldn’t resist him.
Her last song was another Ethel Waters’ rarity—also written by Spencer Williams when she was starring in black vaudeville and was known as “Miss String Bean”—a double entendre-laden “Do What You Did Last Night.” Rosene really gave her all before taking a break before her second show.
The show’s pianist, Jesse Gelber (along with his wife Kate Manning) has written a musical that will be featured this coming weekend at the New York Musical Theater Festival. The show, Where All The Rivers Go To Sleep, plays Saturday, July 18 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, July 19 at noon at the PTC Performance Space (555 West 42nd Street, at 10th Avenue). Tickets are available at www.nymf.org/rivers.
Barbara Rosene has two upcoming gigs called “Gin and Jazz” with guitarist Ray Machiarola on August 3 and 17 at the Manhattan Cricket Club (over the restaurant Burke and Wills at 226 West 79th Street). Both shows start at 7 PM. The club does not presently have a functioning website.