NY Cabaret Review Joe Regan Jr.
Joyce Breach is celebrating her new CD “Moments Like This” with a series of performances in New York City in October. Her opening night at Don’t Tell Mama, October 6, was a packed room of celebrities and friends. To indicate how special the evening was, Mike Renzi, her musical director, who lives in Newport, Rhode Island, came to New York City that afternoon and was leaving immediately to join Tony Bennett and Lady GaGa for their show the next night in California. Her other musician, also on the album, was Jay Leonhart. Needless to say, both of them were in great form.
Breach, who has one of the purest musical voices around today, was in top form, opening with a wonderful rarity, “A Journey to a Star,” introduced by Alice Faye in “The Gang’s All Here.” Her second selection was “That’s For Me,“ the song that was supposed to be the hit from the Rodgers and Hammerstein “State Fair,” until it was eclipsed by “It Might As Well Be Spring.” She paid tribute to Dick Haymes’ acting and singing in the film.
Other rarities were “Moments Like This,” a Burton Lane-Frank Loesser song from “College Swing,” two Peggy Lee songs “I’m in Love Again” and “Where Can I Go Without You,” and the Harry Richman/Irving Kahal “Moonlight Saving Time” from 1931.
The centerpiece of the act was a series of Blossom Dearie songs. She talked about Dearie’s behavior when performing, demanding food and other items instantly from those around her. The Dearie selections, all sublime, were “I Like You, You’re Nice,” a terrific ballad “Inside A Silent Tear,” and “Sunday Afternoon,” a song in praise of Sunday in New York City that should be heard more often.
The other Lane/Loesser song was a sweet and magnificent “Dancing on a Dime.”
No one sings the complete “These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You” better than Joyce Breach, with all the verses and all the choruses. At one point, she directed a comment to Renzi “key change” as she soared through the fourth and fifth set of lyrics. To experience this great moment, you must buy the CD, it runs more than six minutes and is the best version you‘ll ever hear of this standard. She did mention that the songwriter was Hermione Gingold’s husband as well as a British politician!
Her demanded encore was a tribute to Polly Bergen whom she knew, especially in her last days. It was Polly’s signature song on her television show, “The Party’s Over,” and it was an exquisite tribute.
Joyce Breach “Moments Like This” repeats at Don’t Tell Mama at 7:30 PM October 13, 20, and 27 (Reservations 212 757-0788 or www.dontellmamanyc.com.) ; Breach will also appear Friday, October 24 at Jazz at Kitano with two sets at 8 and 10 PM (reservations 212-885-7119 or www.kirano.com) ; Her CD should be available everywhere, search for it. Besides Renzi and Leonhard it features Buddy Williams on drums, Jay Berliner on guitar, and Harry Allen on saxophone. Her cover art is a stunning portrait of Breach by Robert W. Richards, and the liner notes are by Rex Reed. It is a treasure. For more information go to www.joycebeach.com