by: Sandi Durell
British based International singing sensation,Melanie Stace, a good looking charmer in black glitter and fringe, showed off a well trained voice in a one-night only at Birdland on June 22nd to a filled room of fans with a show highlighting the Gershwins and the Great American Songbook in “The Birdland Jazz Party.” Ms. Stace is a well known performer both on TV and the British musical stage. In fact, an entire tier of tables at Birdland were taken up by a school of young music students from England visiting the States who, when finding out that she was performing, made sure to be in the audience to cheer alongside nine time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune.
Ms. Stace grew up listening to Gershwin, thanks to her Dad, and with her powerful vocal performance delivered various swinging rhythms (“Soon,” Nice Work If You Can Get It,”) and some fine emotionally charged slow and easy ballads; sultry “More Than You Know”and a nicely riffed “Embraceable You.”
Fringe shaker, Duke Ellington & Irving Mills’ “It Don’t Mean a Thing” gave Ms. Stace a chance to let go and shake it up. An original tune, “1942” written by Nashville writer Byron Hill (for a movie that never happened), was a bluesy rendition about wartime and waiting for a love half a world away, producing real emotional impact.
Harry Connick Jr.’s “Recipe for Makin’ Love,” an uptune novelty, allowed Ms. Stace another chance to move around the stage and swing those fringes which she does exceedingly well.
Melanie Stace has a beautiful, highly expressive vocal prowess with an undeniable stage presence. She’s joyful to hear and see. Enhancing some tunes with nuanced story-telling might serve to better highlight variations in song delivery creating greater subtleties.
Her top notch musicians included an amazing Musical Director/Pianist Doug Oberhamer (suffering with a fractured elbow ); Drums: David Anthony Bass: Gianluca Renzi Saxophone: Jason Marshall
Melanie will be singing at 54 Below on July 17th, 9:30 pm in a show entitled “Sirens of the Silver Screen” – Tickets: 646- 476- 3551 – She’s definitely someone you want to follow.
Photos/Video: Magda Katz