An Intimate Cabaret Experience in Your Living Room: Danny Bacher on Metropolitan Zoom
by Melissa Griegel
On Friday June 19, I got ready to go out for a night of cabaret. I got dressed, poured a drink, and headed to my living room. For the next hour and half, I was serenaded, entertained, and made to laugh by the talented Danny Bacher. The one-man show was streamed live on Metropolitan Zoom, a leader in virtual cabaret, jazz, and comedy club experiences.
Bacher does it all: he is a jazz singer, soprano saxophonist, vocalist, composer, actor, educator, writer/playwright, and comedian. Yes, you heard that last one correctly. Bacher infused comedy, jokes, and funny stories into his jazz cabaret act. As you can imagine, most of the jokes at this performance were about being quarantined.
The self-named “purveyor of happiness” welcomed us by saying “Danny is in the house! Literally. Streaming live to your homes!” About 45 of us settled in to hear the jazz stylings of Bacher, who encouraged us to sing along at home.
The evening was arranged by Bernie Furshpan, booking director of the Triad Theater. You can record or live stream at their production facility replete with a curtain, eight cameras, and sound equipment. You can find out more at www.triadnyc.com.
We be-bopped to 16 songs, some from jazz greats, and some original pieces from his two CDs: Swing That Music (2016) and Still Happy (2018). After regaling us with the saxophone, Bacher sang Getting Some Fun Out of Life by Billie Holiday. He then told us that “this Jewish boy from Jersey is going to take you all to church” with a rousing rendition of Irving Berlin’s Shakin’ the Blues Away. He then launched into his cover of Sinatra/Jobim’s This Happy Madness, with some whistling “thrown in at no extra charge.”
For his next piece, he gave a shout out to Theater Pizzazz and dedicated Eddie Cantor’s song Makin’ Whoopee! to editor-in-chief Sandi Durell. You can see him sing this song as part of #PerformersSingforFans series. Since, as Bacher said, “We could all use some uplifting right now,” he sang an original piece titled In Spite of all This, I’m Still Happy. He gave his vocal cords a rest for a beat, and played Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are on saxophone.
For many of his songs, he did a combination of singing and sax playing. This was the case for Cab Calloway’s Minnie the Moocher, and some viewers sang along during the chorus. One viewer, his friend Val, joined the zoom from her hospital bed at a rehab recovering from COVID-19. For her, he sang his own Joy de Vivre, (Joy of Life).
He took us through some other classics by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and other greats, giving some history lessons along the way about rhythm/chord changes, scat, and Thelonious Monk. He even sang a short impromptu diddy to his dad for Father’s Day.
Composer, arranger, and Grammy-nominee Larry Kerchner was among those in the audience, and Bacher told us about their current partnership. The two of them are collaborating on a musical called Swing Sisters about female bands during WWII. They have written four songs so far, and are looking forward to completing the project.
The evening ended on a high note with Just a Gigolo, which included his freestyle scat that he infuses into many of his songs. A few viewers got up and danced. Danny then thanked everyone and wished us all “a safe trip home, or to the john!.”
You can learn more about Danny Bacher at http://dannybachermusic.com/