By Marcina Zaccaria
Jazz singer Perez celebrated the songs of Frank Sinatra at The Metropolitan Room. She opened the evening with a rendition of “Come Fly with Me.” Taking every opportunity to bring in the audience, smiling intently, her focus just above the horizon line, Perez appears carefree. Wearing a high bun, a short black sequin dress and silver pumps, her look is reminiscent of the 1960s, a heyday for Sinatra fans.
Born in 1915, Frank Sinatra had an extraordinary career. The set list is heavy with Sinatra tunes from the 1940s through the 1960s. This suave cultural icon, born in Hoboken, was known for classics like “New York, New York” (not sung as part of this evening). With a career in the movies and longevity on his side, his songs are heavily recognized.
Perez puts her own stamp on tunes like “Angel Eyes.” A performer with individual strength, she sings out – allowing a good deal of depth. There’s nothing glib, and everything serious and pleasant about the performance style.
Her performance is particularly sensitive to the songs created while Sinatra was with his second wife, Ava Gardner. Their tumultuous romance made for some astonishing music, interpreted with smoky candor by Perez. Each melody is felt to the core; her voice rich and full of intentionality. Not afraid of the blues, Perez also included tunes like “Nice ‘n’ Easy.”
Her throaty sound is complimented by piano, bass, saxophone, flute, and drums. Revitalized and refreshed, the popular classics feel very complete. The flute feels wispy, the wire brushes on the drum set add enough dimension, sending certain tunes into a dreamy expanse, where melodies can waft into the cabaret.
Perez will return to The Metropolitan Room on June 23, September 20, and November 22.