By Sandi Durell
Who else but the definitive Wall Street Journal’s jazz critic and author of many books and articles Will Friedwald, the go-to for all things Sinatra, could conceive and execute a tribute evening, along with his side kick, Andrew Poretz, that would cover one swingin’ tune after another sung by some of cabaret and Broadway’s best!
And it all happened at The Green Room 42 on February 21. Will’s ultimate book “Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer’s Art” is also the go-to when it comes to learning anything about the great artist and, after opening act Andrew J. Lederer (comic), the evening took on speed as Will read some insightful tidbits from his formidable book, while musical director Jon Weber tinkled the ivories, with Marco Panacia on bass to “Angel Eyes.” References by Friedwald are made of Sinatra’s committal extremes of song choices. . .
Cabaret singer award-winning Gabrielle Stravelli, came out swingin’ with “(Bells Go) Ring-a-Ding Ding” and “Fly Me to the Moon” – with verse, (originally recorded by Kaye Ballard). Jazz pianist/singer/teacher and member of the US Army, Alexis Cole, a master of cool jazz, took her seat at the piano with her rendition of “Yesterdays” following with “All the Way.”
Young, and on the rise 16 year old jazz singer, Anais Reno more than understands the genre and offered up “Autumn Leaves” mainly in French, bringing her mom Julie Kurtzman on stage to accompany her on violin for “Embraceable You.”
I’m sure musician/singer Danny Bacher must have stolen his shimmering jacket from Liberace! With his usual flair and easy presence, he sang a driven “Come Back To Me,” picking up his saxophone for punctuation, and following with “Drinkin’ Again”/ “One For My Baby.” Bistro and MAC Award winner Dawn Derow wowed with “Day by Day.”
Tony nominee, cabaret artist and mother of three girls, Melissa Errico, the epitome of genuine and exquisite phrasing, sang a swingin’ “Come Rain, Come Shine” and soulful “What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life.” Having had the pleasure of meeting and recording the works of the great Michel Legrand, she speaks to the beauty of the man and his music. She and Will Friedwald will be at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium on March 12 as Melissa talks and sings “You Must Believe in Spring” from her album Legrand Affair.
The evening came to a close as “bold and bald” Andrew Poretz sang “Lean Baby,” with Will providing the scoop about the song and Sinatra, followed by a cast finale of “Style.”
Photos: David Rosen