By Sandi Durell
Back from Down Under, the high seas and Piccadilly, Christina Bianco once again takes Birdland by storm. This lady of a thousand voices, with boundless energy, knocks ‘em dead from entrance to exit, as she and her exciting band, led by Brian Nash, give what amounts to a mini-rock concert where, at times, the decibel levels reach proportions one wouldn’t expect in a jazz club. But, that aside, this queen of the Divas – yes, she can voice and do impressions of all major female celeb singers, from her favorites Barbra and Celine to Bernadette, Judy and Liza, Eder and Andrews to Billie Holiday and, lest we forget, Adele, Lupone, Menzel, Chenoweth and even Alice Ripley!
Bianco is funny . . . very funny especially when she’s doing a sexy version of “Short People” (she is an adorable diminutive bundle) . . . being short is a way of life, a culture!
Unleashing a new theme, Unlikely Interpretations, where audience members shout out the name of a famous celebrity singer paired with a very unlikely song – i.e. “Don’t Stop Believing,” as Nora Jones would sing it, or “Material Girl” as sung by Edith Piaf, became an on-going thread as the talented Ms. Bianco and her uber-talented musicians improvised as needed. In between, we were treated to one of the best interpretations of Sondheim’s (music by Mary Rodgers) “The Boy From . . .” I ever heard. In case you’re not familiar. . . here’s a lyric sample: Tall and tender, like an Apollo, he goes walking by and I have to follow him, the boy from Tacarembo La Tumbe Del Fuego Santa Malipas Zatatecas La Junta Del Sol y Cruz (“Crooth”) . . . I’m still laughing!
The piece de resistance came when Bianco’s love for Barbra resounded, Brooklyn accent and all, as she read from My Passion for Design, and all about Streisand’s elegant barn. In all honesty, I thought I was at Celebrity Autobiography (hmmm, that’s a good idea for Bianco to join in that fray) in Babs’ loft/gym as Bianco sounded off like Drew Barrymore, Keira Knightley, Penelope Cruz and Wanda Sykes.
Hard to believe, but Ms. Bianco does have her own voice, and it’s quite astounding, with an unbelievable range, especially when she gets serious singing songs like Sarah McLachlin’s “Angel” and, in Streisand tradition, “Down With Love.”
In case you don’t know about Christina Bianco, she came to instant fame when a YouTube video she made 3 years ago, featuring the endless Diva impressions, garnered, what is now, more than 8 million views. And the rest is history!
Hopefully it won’t be too long a wait till she returns to Birdland, that is after she makes her way around the globe spreading her special humor, talent and energy.
www.BirdlandJazz.com. – Christina will be back in May!!
Photos: Kevin Alvey