by Joe Regan Jr.
Sonya Perkins returned to the Metropolitan Room for her fourth appearance there in a program “A Night of Swinging Jazz.” Once again she brought her great musicians, musical director-arranger Bob Albanese on piano, the great John Bailey on trumpet, John Benitez on bass, and Dwayne ‘Cook’ Broadnaz on drums and percussion. The room was packed with friends from Trudi Mann’s open mic and a lot of psychotherapists who are members of the New York State Society of Clinical Social Workers.
Perkins opened with a swinging version of “Tangerine,” smiling as she enjoyed those lyrics, and punctuated by Bailey blasting out on his trumpet. Then she swung on two “moon” songs: “What A Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Moon Glow,” always smiling as she enjoyed swinging with the lyrics and the band.
Her signature piece is her autobiographical song about being a psychotherapist obsessed with singing once she got an Ipad, walking around on the street, and the subway, and the buses, on the train, singing about her new obsession. She has written special lyrics to “I Will Survive” which state “I am obsessed” with droll humor and smiling brilliance. Although most of the audience had heard this specialty, they cheered for a long time when she finished.
Perkins did a tender and sad version of “He’s Funny That Way” (Richard Whiting/Charles Daniels) with some lyrics in the second chorus after “When I hurt his feelings/Once in a while/His only answer/Is one little smile” that I never heard before: “Whenever I tease him/And make him feel bad/All he does is smile/He isn’t mad.” Later, she told me she went blank and improvised on the standard!
Perkins, who channels Billie Holiday did several Holiday numbers – – “Crazy He Calls Me,” “Don’t Blame Me,” and “Fine and Mellow,” all with Holiday’s phrasing but with her own swinging style. She also talked about a song written in 1933 that has been a big hit in every decade since. Of course, it was “Prisoner of Love” and she sang it intensely, not sacrificing any of the masochism in the lyrics. To salute Jon Hendricks, Perkins swung on his “Down For Double” with great pleasure. After “Fine and Mellow,” which is also known as “Billie’s Blues,” Perkins left her crowd begging for more.
For more information on Perkins’ albums visit her website www.SonyaPerkins.com or Google her on Face book or YouTube.