At the intimate downtown Café Noctambulo at Pangea, tall statuesque and lovely jazzbird La Tanya Hall thrilled the audience with the glorious music of one of the great American ladies of song – Sarah Vaughn – “To Sarah With Love.”
Ms. Hall is probably one of the best kept secrets in the business with her smoky, sensuous interpretive sound, wrapping her delicious voice around notes and phrases that rise from deep within, and scats with the finest of them.
Choosing some of the classic tunes from “the Divine One,” was no easy task since Sarah Vaughn has a treasure trove. With Andy Milne on piano (arranger and partner in life and music) and Mark Helias on bass, the songs flowed one after another including the tune that won Sarah $10 at the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Nite at the age of 18, when she snuck out of the house with a girlfriend on a bus to NY – “Body and Soul” – beginning her iconic career.
The evening was filled with sassy and sweet music and a running storyline about the life of Sarah Vaughn. From “Misty” to “Poor Butterfly” and “Fascinating Rhythm” (that began as a ballad and morphed to swing and bossa) to “Lullabye of Birdland” and Sarah’s #1 Gold Record million seller, which she loathed, “Broken Hearted Melody.”
An emotional “Loverman” and Brazilian “So Many Stars,” were followed by a swingin’ “Honeysuckle Rose” and so much more. There were numerous riffs and solos by the powerful Milne and Helias.
La Tanya Hall has spent a lot of time on the road traveling with so many of the greats – Harry Belafonte, Quincy Jones, Bobby McFerrin, Diana Ross – and, hopefully, will spend more time here in the supper clubs regaling audiences with her uniquely smooth, rich musical sound.
In the audience on December 5th were Catherine Russell, James Naughton, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Eric Michael Gillett.
And a tidbit of what’s to come from La Tanya and Lanny Meyers, whom I sat next to: they’re working on her newest CD a tribute to Dave Brubeck.
La Tanya Hall has one more show Saturday December 6th, 8 p.m. – Don’t miss it! And the menu is terrific! Special thanks to Christopher Gines for creating this magical warm and intimate space.
See video for more (Photos/Video: Sandi Durell)