Clark Warren: Lucky So and So

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Jazz and Standards with a Twist

By Elizabeth Ahlfors

 

 

 

 

Clark Warren is a dapper silver-haired daddy with a hip jazz knack to his music.  Early in the show, he announced he is now officially a “geezer.”  If “geezer” means tangy and provocative, we’ll take it.  Yes, his vocal range is limited and his lines are clipped, but Clark Warren delivers a show that’s his own style and designed to entertain.

With an emphatic punch to his phrasing, this affable “lucky so-and-so” selects an intriguing lineup of tunes that are rhythmic yet he brings out the lyrics with a cool savvy and well-earned maturity.  James Taylor’s “Mean Old Man” is a meandering look within (“I was a mean old man/ I was an ornery cuss” but then celebrates a new turn with, “Who gets a second chance/ Who gets to have some fun/ Who gets to learn to dance before his race is run?”).  Warren does not sing your momma’s version of “Summertime” (George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, Ira Gershwin).  The phrasing is snappy, both sweet and growly, a West Coast jazz jive heightened with Warren’s harmonica and Jon Burr’s smooth dissonance on bass.  A tender rendition is “Nancy” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Phil Silvers) paired with a softly swinging “That Face” by Lew Spence and Alan Bergman, particularly touching since Warren’s daughter, Nancy, and wife were in the audience.

Warren brings an enthusiastic spirit to his songs, but also a know-how of getting the phrasing down.  Bobby Troupe’s “Lemon Twist” is just that, some tart turns of phrases like, “The most respected scientists agree with the physiologists/That here’s one fact you can’t dispute.”  Troupe’s cure-all is obviously a lemon twist.  Warren and his trio bring in another Troupe lyric strutting rhythmically to Gerry Mulligan’s tune, “Walkin’ Shoes.”  Bassist Jon Burr’s original “Sea Breeze” is well-crafted with a refreshing sea and sand melodic flow.

Warren’s trio shows its jazz know-how, with nimble fingered Dan Furman on piano, Jon Burr on bass and David Willman on drums (Dave Meade will sit in on May 30).  J.P. Perreaux added his usual well-placed, creative lighting and sound.

 

The Metropolitan Room April 12 and May 30 at 7pm. Tickets: www.metropolitanroom.com or 212.206.0440

 

 

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