News / Reviews / Commentary

Critical Thoughts: Words Matter—Diction, Phrasing, and Understanding Help Tell the Story

Critical Thoughts: Words Matter—Diction, Phrasing, and Understanding Help Tell the Story

January 23, 2022 | By | 3 Comments

When you are singing a song, you are telling a story. You may be narrating the story to the audience, you may be a participant in the story, or simply observing or perhaps reacting to the story, but in each case, the words matter.  The more connected to the song you are, the more personal […]

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Cabaret Setlist: Taking a Chance on Songs (Part II)—Meg Flather Takes on Jud Fry’s “Lonely Room” from “Oklahoma!” (Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II)

Cabaret Setlist: Taking a Chance on Songs (Part II)—Meg Flather Takes on Jud Fry’s “Lonely Room” from “Oklahoma!” (Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II)

January 17, 2022 | By | 3 Comments

Repertoire for the Once and Future American Songbook Article #20 in this ongoing series. Happy 2022, all! I wish you many memorable musical moments in the year to come. In the previous installment of Cabaret Setlist (click here to read), we looked at how singers can expand the scope of their art by defying expectations about […]

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CD Review: Dawn Derow’s “My Ship: Songs from 1941”

CD Review: Dawn Derow’s “My Ship: Songs from 1941”

January 9, 2022 | By | 1 Comment

In her affecting new CD, My Ship: Songs from 1941, versatile vocalist Dawn Derow celebrates the World War II-era entertainers who comforted civilians stateside and soldiers overseas with memorable recordings of America’s soothing, rousing, and escapist popular music.  Recalling such icons as the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, and Duke Ellington, Derow performs 14 […]

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Concert Review: The Andersons Play “A Jazzy Christmas”

Concert Review: The Andersons Play “A Jazzy Christmas”

December 26, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Ace clarinet and saxophone players, with clean-cut, boy-next-door good looks and winsome, twinkly-eyed personalities, brothers Peter and Will Anderson brought an infectious Yuletide spirit to the  Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space with their diverting program of jazz arrangements of Christmas music—not the traditional, religious-themed carols, but rather those secular holiday-season songs one never […]

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Club Review: Ari Axelrod’s “Ari’s Arias”

Club Review: Ari Axelrod’s “Ari’s Arias”

December 19, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

One of the many things that Ari Axelrod gets right on stage is sharing his gratitude. A medley of “Never Never Land” (Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green) and “Pure Imagination” (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) opened his evening at Birdland Theater, creating a fairytale mood; as if we were all going on a trip […]

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Club Review: Stacey Kent

Club Review: Stacey Kent

December 11, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Stacey Kent sings from a part of the jazz vocal tradition that I particularly admire. She’s one of the post-Anita O’Day singers who has found her lane in a mellow groove.  Her sound is perfect for Brazilian styles, technically accomplished, with even tone and dynamic markings peaking at mezzo forte. She doesn’t need to shout […]

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Club Review: Sidney Myer

Club Review: Sidney Myer

December 11, 2021 | By | 1 Comment

For many years, Sidney Myer has been well known to us as the kind, funny, and encouraging impresario at Don’t Tell Mama (and previously, Panache). Every once in a while he would take the stage at a fancy event and sing a song or two to everyone’s delight. In recent years, he began appearing in […]

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Cabaret Setlist: Taking a Chance on Songs (Part 1)—Byron St. Cyr Dares with “The Miller’s Son” (Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

Cabaret Setlist: Taking a Chance on Songs (Part 1)—Byron St. Cyr Dares with “The Miller’s Son” (Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

December 6, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Repertoire for the Once and Future American Songbook Article #19 in this ongoing series. Usually, for these Cabaret Setlist articles, I’ll look at a song and trace its creation, along with its performance and recording history, then add the insight of contemporary singers who have performed the number recently. For this installment—and the next one—I’m […]

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Review: Wendy-Lane Bailey’s “Five Minutes: Snapshots in Time”

Review: Wendy-Lane Bailey’s “Five Minutes: Snapshots in Time”

November 27, 2021 | By | Add a Comment

Wendy-Lane Bailey, the beautiful and enigmatic singer/producer, took centerstage as a performer at United Solo Festival this year with her work, Five Minutes: Snapshots in Time. The show was directed by Omar Sangare who is the founder and artistic director of the festival. Described as a “musical examination of the turning points that transform your life […]

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CD Review: Karen Mason’s “Let the Music Play”

CD Review: Karen Mason’s “Let the Music Play”

November 27, 2021 | By | 2 Comments

I first reviewed Karen Mason back in the “golden days” of NYC cabaret, at the Duplex,  just after she moved from Chicago to NYC and then, a bit later, at the opening night of the cabaret room at Don’t Tell Mama.  She was an electrifying vocalist, a spellbinding and open-hearted storyteller, and a star. She […]

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