by Joe Regan Jr.
June 20, 2015 – Metropolitan Room
Some years ago Veronika Rodriguez and her musical director saxophone player husband Jean-Philippe Vidal made a New York appearance at Danny’s Skylight Room. At the time I wrote that it was “The most exciting show this year in New York!” Luckily for us New Yorkers, John Meyer presented Rodriguez and Vidal Saturday night at the Metropolitan Room with Don Rebic at the piano and the Don Rebic Trio riding the wave of the great jazz breaks in a sensational show entitled “Veronika Rodriguez Jazz Quartet.” The word had got out and the Metropolitan Room was packed with jazz and music fans!
The actual show began with Meyer sitting down at the piano and singing a crazy tune entitled “C’est Moi” before Rodriguez appeared in a strapless gown and opened strongly with “Lullaby of Birdland.” Immediately she and Vidal rocked on “This Could Be The Start of Something Big” and “It’s All Right With Me.” Throughout the act Rodriguez generously named the songwriters for the selections, most of them American. For instance, she saluted Frank Sinatra’s Centennial by singing “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” tenderly at first, then riffing with a great solo by the bass player, then stopping abruptly on the lyric “Stop” for a long break before returning to rock on the final chorus, scatting all up and down the scale.
She saluted Mancini with “Charade,” a song that was written the year she was born and Loesser with “Shiny Stocking” sung entirely in French! Both selections showed her admiration for Ella Fitzgerald.
There were some selections in French. She honored Frenchman Sacha Distel with the International hit “The Good Life,” sung first as “La Bonne Vie” and then going into the English on the jazz chorus matched with “No More Blues,” giving each one of the musicians a great opportunity to riff! Then, telling us Jacques Prévert was a great poet, she sang the long verse to “Feuilles Mortes” but went to the Mercer “Autumn Leaves” lyrics on the chorus. When she sang the verse in French, it was only with Rebic’s expressive piano, and I think everyone who didn’t understand the language got the meaning right from Rodriguez’ expressive acting!
Rodriguez did the same on “The Way You Look Tonight,” singing sweetly the verse with only piano, then rocking into a wild jam session with Vidal and the musicians on the chorus, scatting high and slow wild notes throughout the room. Equally pleasurable were Jobim’s “Corcovado” sung in English (the “Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars” lyrics) and “One Note Samba” during which Vidal interpolated other Jobim songs during his solo!
Towards the end of the act, Rodriguez told us that John Meyer had just given her the gift a new song. The title was “Wish Me Luck” and Rodriguez sang the ballad again with only Rebic’s piano accompaniment. It was a stunning song. I wish I could quote the exact words, but the last lines of the song were “If I had to go to Hell again you can say I told you so”
Veronika Rodriguez Jazz Quartet also performed June 21 at 4 PM. 212 206-0440. Veronika Rodriguez has a new CD “I Believe in Love.” For more information go to www.veronikarodriguez.com or firstname.lastname@example.org