BWW Reviews: Consummate Vocalist Jeanne Page Knocks Her CD Preview Show REBOOT Out of the Park
On Sunday July 27 powerhouse vocalist Jeanne Page made a stylish return to Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal for a marvelous evening of standards done her way, entitled Reboot. This lady has a unique brand of humor that is intoxicating and infuses every song she sings with the true colors they deserve. She is about to release a CD of her work, so Reboot was a preview of the album. Believe me, it's a knockout!
Opening the evening was Mel Kohl, a standup comic from the old school, who can take just about any joke and twist it to his own design. With hair that stands up high because he shampoos it with viagra, Kohl had the audience in the palm of his hand for the brief ten minutes he performed. Kohl is a good opener for Page, as both performers typify how old-school entertainers have survived so successfully in show biz ... hard work and long hours in shorter, less celebrated opening acts and a deep love of their craft.
After Kohl's brief set, Page took center stage in a vibrant red dress and opened her 65-minute set with a lovely medley of "Stairway to Heaven" and "My Blue Heaven", followed by Billy Barnes' wonderfully laid back "Something Cool". Page has a down.to.earth sense of humor. Every time she had to move a heavy stool stage center, she decried, "I might get a hernia!" She also displayed a delicious versatility in conveying the authentic spirit of several black artists who remain her favorite singers, one being Bessie Smith with "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out", Miss Billie Holiday with "Good Morning Heartache" and Ella Fitzgerald via "A-Tisket, A-Tasket". My guest for the evening compared her to Lena Horne, that fits, as both have a powerful instrument that is vibrantly expressive and full of wit.
Other highlights of the evening were beautiful renditions of "My Funny Valentine", and, to celebrate the Beatles' 50 years, George Harrison's gorgeous "Something in the Way He Moves Me" in combo with "You Are So Beautiful", and also the very bluesy "Miss Otis Regrets". Page really cooked with "Sweet Georgia Brown", "Save the Bones for Mr. Jones" and "Down in New Orleans". She even added a delightful parody of "Let It Go" called "Let It Grow" about the struggles of gardening influenced by Southern California's extreme changes in temperature.
And what a band! Page was accompanied by terrific musical director Charlie Harrison at the piano, Freddie Johnson on bass, Henry Newmark on drums, and Dan Sawyer on guitar/sax, who all really rocked. Page had a ball throughout, exuding a passion for every note she sang, infusing her musical combo and the audience with pure joy.
Miss Jeanne Page is an animated presence with a very expressive vocal instrument. She is lovely, warm and knows how to entertain with a uniquely vivacious style. Can't wait for the CD! Watch for it in late August/September!
(top photo: Scott Bogunia/Stormlabs)