You are never as good as your best review or as bad as your worst! I feel that if your audience was entertained, you did your job!

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TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING
“Sue Matsuki’s emergence as a cabaret star!
It’s been awhile since we last saw Sue Matsuki perform – not since she was just making her breakthrough to a new level of popularity as well as establishing her foundation of solid professional showmanship. If anything, her popularity has increased during the intervening years – and for good reason: Matsuki is a more polished and assured performer now and her ability to interpret a lyric is more readily apparent.
The show we just saw drew upon the women who have influenced Matsuki. There were some songs associated with the likes of everyone from Doris Day to Ella Fitzgerald. If those influences continue to hold sway in her new show, she should be a force to reckon with. Consider what she did with a song Reba McIntire sings called, “The Greatest Man;” in Matsuki’s hands it becomes a moving tribute to her step-father. In the same way, the Janis Ian song, “Love is Blind: held a personal poignancy fo...
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TEN YEARS IN THE MAKING
“One thing about Sue Matsuki’s current series of shows is certain: if there were an award for sheer ambition, Sue Matsuki would be a finalist at the very least. Her show’s title refers to a cavalcade of six completely different shows (actually seven, but one was sold-out even before the series began) at the Hideaway Room at Helen’s.
For Matsuki, it’s a retrospective of ten years of collaboration with her music director, arranger, accompanist, Gregory Toroian, and the shows they have created and played together. The charts were there, and from them, the two have selected a hundred numbers to provide the musical repast, a dozen and half or so for each musical meal.
This reviewer caught A Plate of Sweetness, a Sunday toast to the ladies who have inspired Matsuki. There were songs associated with Billie, Peggy, Sarah and Ella (any questions about who?). As well as Shirley Horn, Shirley Bassey and others. Matsuki is a seasoned performer who makes no attempt...
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SUE MATSUKI, REACHING FOR THE THIRD STAR
Gourmands on a generous budget who take off for a dining tour of France will usually make the rounds of those few restaurants to which the renowned Guide Michelin has awarded its top honor, three stars. One food critic, however, has suggested they opt for the two-star dining spots. Not only are they superb, but their chefs are constantly trying to outdo themselves, striving for that third star. In the world of cabaret, Sue Matsuki, musing on her talents and her career, deems herself a two-star performer still working her way to the top. There are those who think she has either arrived or is very close. Recently reviewers Barbara and Scott Siegel noted that Sue grows ever more popular, and “for good reason. Matsuki is a more polished and assured performer now and her ability to interpret a lyric is more readily apparent.” Other critics praise her “impeccable musicianship,” the “relaxed engaging alto that one could listen to for hours,” her comic gifts, and the “gems” that consti...
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A Tribute To The Gals Who Make Me Want To Sing
“Sue Matsuki’s new show "A Tribute To The Gals Who Make Me Want To Sing" (Ella, Sarah, Carmen, Peggy, Rosemary, Irene & Dakota) with Gary Pace on piano and John Leohrke on bass, with Frank Fontana serving as director, is another in a series of simple but delightful presentations by this MAC Award-winning artist. In this show Sue explains how female vocalist of the past have influence the way she sings and the way she approaches a song. But she makes no attempt to imitate their styles as she performs their songs. Instead, she makes them her own, setting each one with a personal observation, and adapting the song to her marvelous vocals. Lesson to be learned from Sue? Try to make the audience feel that the song was written with you in mind. I see too many shows where performers give the impression that they are merely singing someone else’s songs. Want to learn about what cabaret is, while at the same time being thoroughly entertained? See this show.” Stu Hamstra, CabaretH...
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A Tribute To The Gals Who Make Me Want To Sing
“To me, Sue Matsuki is an unaffected jazz stylist. She has a relaxed, engaging alto that one could listen to for hours. In person she is very persuasive with a sweet sound that recalls ‘50s band singer Chris Connor or, more recently, Carol Sloane. With brilliant Gary Pace on piano and John Leohrke on bass, she is in good hands. To her credit, she never tries to emulate the ladies to whom she pays tribute. Rather, she brings her own gentle spin to the vocalists who have defined her musically. There are gems, which she pulls off with a keen sense of respect while bringing her own often-languid style to the music. Highlights like Peggy Lee-Dave Barbour’s "I Don’t Know Enough About You" and the Johnny Burke-Jimmy Van Heusen "But Beautiful" are conquered with a wistful nostalgia that recalls an era we’ll never see again. The rarely heard 1956 "The Late, Late Show" (Roy Alfred-Murray Berlin), a signature tune of Dakota Staton, shows a whimsical side that ...
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A Tribute To The Gals Who Make Me Want To Sing
“Sue’s show last night was sensational! Her interpretations of the songs sung by Irene Kral (a real favorite of mine, including Tommy Wolfe’s "I’m Always Drunk In San Francisco", a real musical and dramatic tour de force), Peggy Lee, Dakota Staton, Sarah Vaughan ("Misty") are so fresh and compelling. She has never been better. Her version of "I’ll Close My Eyes" rivals Mildred Bailey’s. Don’t miss her show! In addition, we had the wonderful Tim Sullivan doing two incredible original songs. But you should not pass up to see Sue which sets a high criteria for the best female performance in the next awards season!” Joe Regan, Cabaret Scenes
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JAM N TOASTS
“Standing center stage and elegantly dressed in black, she begins her opening song, Irving Berlin’s "Let Me Sing." It’s easy to see right from the first notes why Sue Matsuki was honored with a MAC Award for Female Jazz Vocalist 2001. Her new show with Gregory Toroian, is called "Jam n’ Toasts" and took New Hope by storm when it played the Cabaret Room at Odette’s.
Deftly directed by Carolyn Montgomery, "Jam n’ Toasts" presents a great group of tunes after each one is set up by "here’s to you" style toasts. Toasts to the many men in her life from her stepfather, "The Greatest Many I Never Knew" (by Leigh and Matine Jr.) to her biological father with "Speaking of Happiness" written by Scott and Radcliffe). The evening was a well packaged mix of Berlin, Bricusse and Mancini, Mercer and Whiting, Mercer and Rowles, Elvis Costello, Jay Leonhart and Carly Simon.
Capturing the audience’s emotion wit...
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JAM N TOASTS
"As you know Sue is one of my all time favorite singers and she has reclaimed many forgotten songs for me -- Sue appeared with the beginning riff of "Perdido" and proceeded to wipe out a sold out club with an truly extraordinary tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. It was a show of many highlights --- her "Lullaby of Birdland" (which I first saw Ella do at a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in San Jose when I was at Stanford) was on the nose; she did a funny special lyric to "I Won't Dance" called "I Won't Scat" during which the band teasted her and taunted her into scatting (you have to hear it to believe it, it is one the most incredible special lyric standards I've heard in ages). Then she proceeded to show the range of Ella in several selections, the best of Ella ranging from the Berlin "Mack The Knife" with the special ad lib lyrics; an incredibly heartbreaking "Can't We Be Friends" (restoring another...
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Ella & Me - A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, The Firs
"As you know Sue is one of my all time favorite singers and she has reclaimed many forgotten songs for me -- Sue appeared with the beginning riff of "Perdido" and proceeded to wipe out a sold out club with an truly extraordinary tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. It was a show of many highlights --- her "Lullaby of Birdland" (which I first saw Ella do at a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in San Jose when I was at Stanford) was on the nose; she did a funny special lyric to "I Won't Dance" called "I Won't Scat" during which the band teasted her and taunted her into scatting (you have to hear it to believe it, it is one the most incredible special lyric standards I've heard in ages). Then she proceeded to show the range of Ella in several selections, the best of Ella ranging from the Berlin "Mack The Knife" with the special ad lib lyrics; an incredibly heartbreaking "Can't We Be Friends" (restoring another...
Read More
Ella & Me - A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, The Firs
"As you know Sue is one of my all time favorite singers and she has reclaimed many forgotten songs for me -- Sue appeared with the beginning riff of "Perdido" and proceeded to wipe out a sold out club with an truly extraordinary tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. It was a show of many highlights --- her "Lullaby of Birdland" (which I first saw Ella do at a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in San Jose when I was at Stanford) was on the nose; she did a funny special lyric to "I Won't Dance" called "I Won't Scat" during which the band teasted her and taunted her into scatting (you have to hear it to believe it, it is one the most incredible special lyric standards I've heard in ages). Then she proceeded to show the range of Ella in several selections, the best of Ella ranging from the Berlin "Mack The Knife" with the special ad lib lyrics; an incredibly heartbreaking "Can't We Be Friends" (restoring another...
Read More
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