×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Janis Siegel; Fred Hersch

Janis Siegel, one quarter of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer and a soloist with a new album, "Friday Night Special," on Telarc, offered a keen kicky turn marked by cool assurance, vocal clarity and a breezy, pitch-perfect sound.

With:
Musicians: (JS) George Colligan, Steve Hauss, Vicente Archer; (FH) Drew Gress, Nasheet Waits.

Janis Siegel, one quarter of the vocal group Manhattan Transfer and a soloist with a new album, “Friday Night Special,” on Telarc, offered a keen kicky turn marked by cool assurance, vocal clarity and a breezy, pitch-perfect sound.

Few singers go out on a limb to sing against the slow burn of the likes of a Hammond B3 as Siegel does on her disc and as she did at this JVC Jazz Festival gig. The combination turned out to be a real groove and a highly fueled opener. George Colligan added the grits and gravy organ accompaniment for Siegel, who kicked off her set with Bill Withers’ “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh” and a blues romp with Billy Myles’ “My Love Is” in tandem with Willie Dixon’s “My Babe.”

Siegel also searches the archives, coming up with a rare look at the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill tune “Cornet Man,” from “Funny Girl,” (she offered a fanciful, brassy attack) and — talk about digging into Broadway’s glorious past — rediscovering a song written by Vernon Duke and Ogden Nash from “The Littlest Revue.” It’s called “Born Too Late” and was excluded from the original 1956 cast album only to be rescued decades later by historian Ben Bagley. Siegel’s haunting take on the tune revealed her commitment to the art of telling a story and reaching the depths of one’s heart.

Siegel sampled tunes from “Friday Night Special,” including a rather unlikely racing take on “Misty” and “I Just Dropped in to Say Hello.” Reminding her audience that the latter was associated with the late balladeer Johnny Hartman, Siegel quipped, “Why should the baritones have all the fun?” The singer forged her tightest bond with the audience when singing Johnny Mercer’s ode to a pastoral green valley, “Skylark.”

The Fred Hersch trio replaced an originally scheduled Steve Tyrell, who withdrew due to family illness. Composer-pianist Hersch is a richly imaginative musician who plays with considerable clarity, marked by clean and bold linear variations.

His varied set included “Bemsha Swing” by Thelonious Monk; his own serene composition, “Endless Stars,” inspired by a summery New Hampshire night; and a boppish tribute to Joe Henderson, “Phantom of the Bopera.”

Taking a cue from the concert theme, “Beautiful Songs — Then and Now,” Hersch was at his most poetic with “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and a stunning turn with “Some Other Time.” The Jule Styne-Sammy Cahn tune was crooned by Sinatra to a pert Gloria DeHaven in his second major film appearance, “Step Lively.” Hersch layered the ballad with a rich, lustrous approach.

Janis Siegel; Fred Hersch

Kaye Playhouse; 624 capacity; $35

Production: A presentation of the JVC Jazz Festival. Reviewed June 26, 2003.

Cast: Musicians: (JS) George Colligan, Steve Hauss, Vicente Archer; (FH) Drew Gress, Nasheet Waits.

More Music

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Huey Lewis

    BMG Signs Huey Lewis and the News

    Huey Lewis and the News, the band that soundtracked much of the 1980s, will return with a new album in 2019. The group has signed with BMG, the company announced today (Jan. 18), setting the stage for the tenth studio album and the first time they’re releasing original music in 18 years. Formed by Lewis [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • mike-posner

    Album Review: Mike Posner's 'A Real Good Kid'

    From the tone of such hits as his 2010 debut “Cooler Than Me” and 2015’s  “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” singing, songwriting pop-hop beardo Mike Posner had a seemingly breezy take on life, love and responsibility. If you could have squeezed together the two Justins — Timberlake and Bieber (Posner has written for the latter) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content