Review by Sandi Durell
A very glamorous Julie Budd entered Birdland Theatre on May 1 packed with enthusiastic fans ready to hear all about ‘The Songs of My Life and the Composers Who Wrote Them.’ Julie’s been in the business of show since the age of 12, when she won a talent contest while vacationing in the Catskills with her family, and has had an amazing career as a song stylist since then. She finally returns to the stage at Birdland after a 3 year hiatus.
Welcome back Julie! An iconic chanteuse, a riveting storyteller, Ms. Budd doesn’t hold back when it comes to sharing her life’s journey. She’s hob-nobbed not only with Sinatra when she was all of 16 years old, worked with Marvin Hamlisch and met many of the songwriters to whom she pays tribute. . . like Irving Caesar who wrote with Vincent Youmans the nicely paired “Tea for Two” and “I Want to Be Happy,” and Cy Coleman “The Best is Yet to Come.”
At the tender age of 17 she was singing with Jimmy Durante at The Desert Inn in Vegas. Both Sinatra and Durante sung “The Songs Gotta Come From the Heart” and needless to say, that’s just where it hits when Julie Budd offers her rendition.
Budd is the epitome of the kid with chutzpa who had all the angles that obviously moved her along as a performer and surely has met and performed on some of the great shows to hit the television screens in America – (Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin- numerous times), meeting her musical director/arranger Herb Bernstein early on, they’ve been a team for over 50 years. They fit like hand in glove.
Cut from Sweet Charity, “Pink Taffeta Sample Size 10” (Dorothy Fields/Cy Coleman) highlighted pathos and joy, followed by another animated tale from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn “He Had Refinement” (Dorothy Fields/Arthur Schwartz). This is an arena in which Budd excels in dramatic ability highlighting her storytelling skills.
A slick, cool Ellington Tribute –“I’m Beginning to See the Light”/”Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”/”It Don’t Mean a Thing” had the audience tapping their feet and grooving to the swing of the trio that included Sam Lazzara on drums and David Winograd on bass. The inclusion of Jerry Herman was icing on the cake with the forceful “I Am What I Am” in a Herman medley of tunes.
Herb Bernstein’s self penned, heart-rending “Little Boy of Mine” was filled with emotion.
Julie Budd revels in the music and sometimes gets lost in that revelry with emotions that fly to the surface – not a bad thing! She’s as real as they get.
Perhaps it’s time for Julie Budd to go to the next step – write a book – what an interesting unique life and career that should be shared with an even wider audience!
Treat yourself to the remarkable Julie Budd at Birdland Theatre, 315 West 44 Street, where the food is sumptuous-delicious and the talent even more! Julie Budd will be appearing at 7 pm thru May 4. 212 581-3080 www.birdlandjazz.com
Photos by Stephen Sorokoff