Photos by: Eric Stephen Jacobs
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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...
ELLA & ME...A TRIBUTE TO ELLA FITZGERALD
"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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