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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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“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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“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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"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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