Kate Flannery Joins Jane Lynch at 54 Below, and More
254 W. 54th St., (646) 476-3551
Friday & Saturday
In her first one-woman nightclub show, the "Glee" and "Annie" star is breathlessly entertaining; her fast-moving set is swinging (as on the Irving Berlin rarity "Mr. Monotony"), harmonious (particularly the duets with guests Kate Flannery and Cheyenne Jackson) and funny-funny-funny. Her major break from cabaret convention is that everything is played for laughs: There isn't one slow, tender, sentimental moment in the whole thing. Even her opener, "If Wishes Were Rainbows," is a sly, nonsensical parody of a generic "I want" song. At barely 60 minutes, the production is on the short side; if she were to expand it, she might consider adding a few numbers in which she gives herself the chance to be romantic, but even as it stands, this is a show that is worth seeing more than once.
Children of the Light Trio: Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade
The Blue Note
131 W. Third St., (212) 475-8592
Danilo Pérez is both a Panamanian musician and one of the leading pianists in all of contemporary jazz, therefore it makes sense that he should have two new projects that reflect both pursuits. His new album, "Panama 500" draws from South American musical traditions, centering around a three-part "Canal Suite," which makes very ambitious use of a full string and percussion sections. In contrast, the Children of the Light Trio, appearing this week at the Blue Note, is a new project with Mr. Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, and draws upon the remarkable empathy that the three have built up over the last dozen years or so as members of Wayne Shorter's quartet.
Norma Winstone, Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier
45 Bleecker St., (212) 533-5470
At 72 years old, British singer Norma Winstone is one of the very few overtly postmodern jazz vocalists who is consistently worth listening to, particularly when she engages in one of her characteristically imaginative reinterpretations of a familiar melody. With her dry, almost ashen tone, Ms. Winstone sounds like a contemporary update of the frequently misunderstood Helen Merrill. She and her current trio, with Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German multi-reed player Klaus Gesing (as heard on their new album, "Dance Without Answer"), are particularly effective on their deconstructions of such sentimental fare as "Bein' Green" and "It Might Be You" as well as modern folk offerings by Tom Waits ("San Diego Serenade"), Nick Drake ("Time of No Reply") and, the "Midnight Cowboy" theme "Everybody's Talkin'."
Red Baraat, '100+ BPM'
Brooklyn Public Library
10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
Those who believe the only way to attract young audiences to jazz is to combine it with hip-hop, are, sadly, rapping up the wrong tree-They just need brass, percussion and a dance floor. The brass revolution reaches a new plateau tomorrow with an ingenious concept from Sunny Jain, percussionist, composer and leader of Red Baraat, the remarkable "Bhangra party band." Interested players are invited to download the score in advance, and then convene on Saturday afternoon on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. The result should be a gloriously cacophonous gathering, in which hundreds of musicians will parade across Grand Army Plaza, leading a second line that will doubtless stretch all the way to Brighton Beach. With such an army of brass musicians, Brooklyn could conquer the world.
'It Might As Well Be Spring: A Celebration in Song of the Incomparable Life of Margaret Whiting '
Margaret Whiting (1924-2011) was indisputably one of the major hitmakers and great stealth stylists of postwar pop, and, like her colleagues Julie Wilson and Marilyn Maye, in her later years she was an indefatigable inspiration for hundreds of young singers who clutched the American Songbook to their bosoms. Nearly every vocalist in New York apparently wants to honor her memory, which is why this tribute promises to be excellent but very long; with 22 artists doing 27 numbers (one of which is a mega-medley of songs by her father, Richard Whiting ), it could be called the night of a million Maggies. Highlights include Marilyn Maye, Eric Comstock, Barbara Fasano, Natalie Douglas, Carole J. Bufford, Marissa Mulder, Lauren Fox, Eric Garcia, Stacy Sullivan, Karen Oberlin ...and the list, as they say, goes on.