Monday, June 21, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for June 20, 2010 - "June Jazzathon"

Special Guest Susan Winter

Jazz music is the power of now. There is no script. It's conversation. The emotion is given to you by musicians as they make split-second decisions to fulfill what they feel the moment requires.

—Wynton Marsalis

Sunday was filled with improvisation, licks, syncopation, back phrasing, blue notes, and the Barry Levitt rule that if the audience snapped, it had to be on beats 2 and 4! Yes, the theme was "June Jazzathon," and folks brought in classic jazz standards, brand new jazz compositions, and even jazzed up some Broadway and rock blues classics for the theme! On the piano, and hosting the event in place of Mark Janas, was the incomparable Barry Levitt, while on the upright bass was charming, funny, and groovy singer-songwriter Ritt Henn. Co-Hostess of the evening was Helena Grenot, who recently debuted her show "Damned If I Know" at Don't Tell Mama earlier in May. Special Guest was Susan Winter, who is opening up (or re-revealing after 3 years) her MAC-nominated show "Million Dollar Matinee" at Don't Tell Mama, June 21, 29th and 30th.

And two congratulations were consistently celebrated from Salon members on stage: the birthday wishes to singer Jillian Lauraine, and wishes of a happy anniversary to Joey Infante and Michael MacDonald!

Helena Grenot got the jive going with the Dizzy Gillespie number "A Night In Tunisia." That opened the stage up for newcomer Ruth Cruson to belt out "The Trolley Song" - Ruth is working on a new Cabaret show with Director Joey Infante, which will arise by the end of the year. Then Lou Iacovino - a regular Salon attendee - brought up "The Best is Yet to Come," a classic Sinatra swing song. After Lou, MAC Award-winning hostess of the Wednesday Night at the Iguana series Dana Lorge took to the stage and sang a HILLLLLARIOUS song to birthday lady Jillian, "Up Yours." This Wednesday, June 23rd, will mark the 1 year anniversary of the Wednesday Night at the Iguana series with fellow host Richard Skipper, and will feature Barry Levitt on piano and Saadi Zain on bass, along with many other special guests, to celebrate the event. After Dana, Sunny Leigh sang the sweet "There Never Will Be Another You," which included an interlude written by Sunny and Barry Levitt - and Sunny says she will have another show in the Fall.

We had an out of town couple, and Sam Supowit represented his home state of Arizona by effortlessly playing the piano and singing Billy Joel's "Movin' Out." Then Susan Dymond, yet another welcomed newcomer to The Salon, deftly maneuvered through "How High The Moon" - she is getting a show of her own ready for the fall season. After Susan, Deb Berman - sorry - Bistro Award-Winning Deb Berman sang the swinging "Nobody Else But Me." Next, the always stylish Bobbie Horowitz sang "Never a Freshman Again," in honor of Jillian's birthday. Bobbie's book "Find Your Mini Q's: Reveal the Star You Truly Are" is currently in the hands of editors and should be published in July! Then we had the birthday girl herself, Jillian Laurain, sing "Make Me Rainbows." The audience then did a lovely round of "Happy Birthday" and "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby" for Jillian, who will perform at the Metropolitan Room under the direction of Peter Napolitano, July 24th at 5pm!

To round out the first half, we had Stephanie Zagoren with "Bye Bye Blackbird" (during which there was a heavy dose of audience snapping on the 2's and 4's). We then had a debut from Berlin, Germany with Gesine Heinrich, belting out "Nevertheless," then Edie Stokes flirted her way through "Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me." Then, Helena Grenot brought Peter Napolitano to the stage to introduce the song he wrote lyrics to, "Damned If I Know," which is also the title to Helena's recent show. He wrote this special material with Barry Levitt. Peter has been busy as of late, as he is directing both Jillian Lauraine's upcoming show and Barbara Porteus' show at Feinsteins, has a song written by himself and Matthew Ward in Susan Winter's show, and is now a staff writer for! Next to sing was Dani Rhodes with "Kissing You"; Dani will be out of NYC doing "The Buddy Holly Story" in Connecticut! Arianna next sang a unique interpretation of "The Man That Got Away." Finally, Michael MacDonald took to the piano to sing "You Made Me Love You" to Joey Infante, who turned it around and sang "True Love" back. 31 years, guys - you made it happen!

After the break, we had our lovely Special Guest Susan Winter! Her show "Million Dollar Matinee" opened last night at Don't Tell Mama and there are two more shows June 29th and 30th at 7pm! She has also recently won the 2010 MAC Award for her CD "Love Rolls On." She will also be seen at the Iridium Jazz Vocalist Festival July 13th and Tuesday, June 1st, sharing the stage with Karen Oberlin. For Salon, she sang "Going My Way," "Come Dance With Me," "You'll See," and "No One Ever Tells You." She was marvelous!!!

Barry then took us on a road trip down "Route 66" for the "Barry's Corner" segment of the evening. After Barry's Corner came "Ritt's Niche," although I'm not sure if there's a niche big enough for Ritt Henn and his upright bass! Ritt sang the title tune from his CD "Goin' Back," which was very appropriate for Father's Day. Then Tanya Moberly sang "Overlap" by Ani Difranco - Tanya will be singing with Bill Zeffiro at the Borcalino Room this Thursday at Flute Grammercy, and will also bring back her "Theater Songs" show with Ritt Henn and Mark Janas to Don't Tell Mama on September 30th. Next, Richard Eisenberg sang a song fresh from his writing desk - "Never Too Late," a lovely optimistic-filled song. Barbara Proteus (Feinstein's on July 31st and August 1st at 8:30 folks!) then jazzed up a version of "It Might As Well Be Spring" from State Fair. Barbara, along with several other Salon members, will also sing at Don't Tell Mama for the MAC Summer Preview Showcase, July 16th.

To ratchet the energy of the evening even higher, Kevin McMullan brought "Minnie The Moocher" back to the microphone, finding even more audience response participation than ever. Then Brandon Bain - returning to the Salon for the second time - cooed "Dindi" (using the Portuguese pronunciation: dʒĩˈdʒi) by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Brandon, with his cool demeanor and smooth vocals, epitomized the jazz theme of the evening and certainly made an impression! After Brandon came Maria Zimmet - who is promising us a show in the next few months - and expertly floated and zipped through a jazz rendition of "Cheek to Cheek." Marc Ostrow then returned to the piano from last week and sang an original romantic jazz waltz piece, "Would You Like to Go Out for Some Coffee." (the answer is yes, Marc!)

We then got a house call from Dr. Sue Horowitz, who reinterpreted Fiddler on the Roof to reflect the wishes of a female Tevye in "If I Was a Rich Goil." Then Craig Pomrantz sweetly sang "Rain Sometimes." Craig is returning to the Metropolitan Room July 21st and 22nd before heading back to Los Angeles and Palm Springs for a few more shows. We then had Joan Jaffe (whose CD "Joan Jaffe Sings Funny..." was released just last week!) - she sang "I'm All Smiles." Joan is also directing Louisa Poster's show at Don't Tell Mama on July 12th, will be seen at the MAC Summer Preview Showcase on July 16th, and will be having a CD release party at Don't Tell Mama's on July 29th! Making her Salon debut, Lenore Stefanik sang "My Romance" with lovely soprano vocals. Then our wonderful co-host Helena Grenot completed the evening with "No Regrets."

Next week! June 27th: the theme will be “Glitter and Be Gay” in honor of Gay Pride Week! The Co-Host of the evening will be Shaynee Rainbolt, while the Special Guest will be Terese Genecco. Get out your songs from Falsettos, La Cage aux Folles, songs written by composers and lyricists in the LGBT community, or perhaps songs about pride, positive optimism, or anything evoking the "I am what I am" tenant.

And now for some pics - taken from my iPhone, please forgive blurriosity:

Helena Grenot, Ritt Henn & Barry Levitt

Gesine Heinrich, Helena Grenot

Kevin McMullan, Maria Zimmet

Joey Infante, Susan Winter

Brandon Bain, Deb Berman

"Ritt's Niche"

Dani Rhodes, Barry Levitt, Arianna

Dr. Sue, and an anniversary cake!

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the fun times. Until next visit!
    -Sam Supowit