Saturday, October 2, 2010

Salon Wrap-Up for September 26th, 2010: "Happy Birthday Georgie!"

"Happy Birthday Georgie!" That's what we could have exclaimed to George Gershwin, had he still be alive to celebrate his 112th Birthday with us on Sunday. Alas, twas not the case, but we celebrated his birthday by singing and playing his works with aplomb, some pomp, and lots of glee over Gershwin!

The talented, dreamy co-host of the evening was Todd Murray, who is now performing in his solos show, "Croon." - the last performance is this Monday, October 4 at 9:30pm at the Metropolitan Room. Swoon (to rhyme with "croon") is what we did as we heard him start the evening off with "Shall We Dance," and an effortless "Fascinatin' Rhythm.". He then brought up Marilyn Cooney, who sang an original piece inspired by a trip she once took with her husband, "One More Song About Paris." Returning Salon singer Tony Imgrund then took to the mic to sing a ballad version of "Lady Be Good." Then, ever to spice up an old standard, Louisa Poster sang a funny rendition of "Orange Colored Sky." Helena Grenot, whose show "Damned If I Know" returns to Don't Tell Mama on October 22nd and 29th, plus November 6th, sang Gershwin's classic "They Can't Take That Away From Me."

We then saw Sue Matsuki - she's now on the writing staff for Cabaret Hotline Online! - and she sang the heartfelt "Love Walked In". She'll be singing at a Baptist church benefit on October 21st at 7pm. After Sue, Joan Crowe broke from her saucy, silly jazz image and sang a smokey blues ballad entitled "Since I Fell For You." Bill Zeffiro then grabbed the piano bench and sang a cut song from "Damsel in Distress" (later put into "Cover Girl") called "Put Me To the Test.". It had smart, witty lyrics that sounded like they were penned just yesterday! After Bill we had the pleasure of hearing Annie Lebeaux, who brought into the light another song cut from "Damsel in Distress" (who knew?!?) called "Just Another Rhumba." Having those back to back really made me wonder why they cut such great music! Marya Zimmet took to the stage and beautifully sang "It Ain't Necessarily So" in her jazzy, smokey vocals. Edie Stokes sang "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and announced that she'll be doing her own show, "I'm On a Carousel," at Don't Tell Mama November 7th.

We next had my vocal group, Marquee Five, sing two numbers from our currently running show, "8-Track Throwback." Although he's not in our official band, Sean Harkness was on hand to read the music over Mark's shoulder and add his guitar styling to the mix. Marquee Five sang "Sounds of Scarborough," which is a mix of Simon & Garfunkel music, and then "Ain't No Sunshine, Jack", a medley of "Hit the Road, Jack" and "Ain't No Sunshine." Our remaining show will be Saturday, October 16th at 6pm, Don't Tell Mama! After Marquee Five, our favorite waiter David Ballard sang the classic "Embraceable You." To close out the singers for the first half, Maureen Taylor next sang the beautiful "Still."

Mark Janas' Classical Corner that evening centered around George Gershwin and what "transcription" meant for his work. Transcription is literally a piece which is already arranged but which is then played on a different instrument; thus, how "Rhapsody in Blue" is transcribed from an orchestral piece to a single piano rendition. And "Rhapsody" was originally a jazz band orchestration to begin with, so the full "legit" orchestral version we are most familiar with is a transcription in and of itself! Accidental transcriptions, based on our unique individual interpretation of a work of music, happen all the time. The art of transcription is in the giving of a sense of an orchestra in piano form. We then were treated with a fantastic rendition of the "Rhapsody" itself by Mark on piano, and he received a great standing "O" as soon as the last notes echoed from the piano.

After the break, we were treated again to Todd Murray, who brought in Sean Harkness to play with him. Todd sang a wonderful jazzy "It Might as Well Be Spring," then a Harkness original arrangement of "You Are Too Beautiful." The latter is in Todd Murray's show, "Croon," and we were excited to hear that all the musicians sang with Todd in harmony for the show. Sounds fantastic! After Todd's two solos, Sean himself performed what he called "Summer Solstice," an original piece of his. Sean Harkness has a show at "The Top of the Rock" on Wenesday night, October 6th between 7-9pm!

Tanya Moberly
next came up to sing the Meredith Brooks song "Birthday," in reference to birthday-boy George. Her show "Theater Songs" took place this past Thursday at Don't Tell Mama, and I had the pleasure of attending - it was terrific! Then Joann Sicoli crooned herself through "Someone to Watch Over Me," and Deb Berman returned to Salon to sing "Day In, Day Out" with Sean Harkness - her show will perform October 17th and 25th and November 2nd. Next, our sound man (and a musician in his own right), Tommy Schull, performed on piano a haunting piece that he composed for the film "Charlie's Motivation."

Adam West Hemming (tenor, musical director and arranger for Marquee Five) then sang from "8-Track Throwback" what he entitled "An Honest House," a mix of Burt Bacharach/Hal David's "A House is Not a Home" and the theme of Billy Joel's "Honesty." We then were treated to David Vernon's sultry vocals on "How Long Has This Been Going On?" To break out the operatic style of Gershwin, Sierra Rein (me) sang "By Strauss" to the high heavens.

Adam West Hemming, of Marquee Five

We then had some wonderful Broadway talent on stage - Douglas Sills (Scarlet Pimpernel, On the Twentieth Century, Little Shop of Horrors, Monty Python's Spamalot) performed the beautiful piece "Soon." With one last song from Todd Murray, the evening came to a close!


We are running a Special for the month of October. Bring two new people and get in for free! That's right! BRING TWO PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN TO SALON BEFORE AND YOUR ADMISSION IS FREE!

SALON is that Unique, Bistro & MAC Award Winning Weekly Open Mic Event created and hosted by Mark Janas and produced by Tanya Moberly at Etcetera, Etcetera - 352 West 44th Street, NYC 10036 - on Sundays from 7-10:30PM.

October 3rd:
Theme: “Weather or Not”
Co-Host: Daryl Sherman

October 10th:
Theme: "Color My World"
Co-Host: Shana Farr

October 17th:
Theme: "The Great American Chorus Line – A Tribute to Gypsies Everywhere"
Co-Host: Valerie Lemon

October 24th:
Theme: TBA
Co-Host: TBA

October 31st: NO SALON

There is a $10 cash cover at the door UNLESS YOU BRING TWO NEW PEOPLE, IN WHICH CASE THERE'S NO COVER FOR YOU, and a $15 food/drink minimum (cash or credit) per person. (For further information visit or call 212-399-4141). There are no reservations; seating is on a first come/ first served basis, with one intermission. Doors open and sign up begins at 6:15pm.

Visit our website and our Facebook page for continual updates.

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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