BWW Reviews: VERONICA KLAUS SINGS THE PEGGY LEE SONGBOOK Returns to the Rrazz Room
VERONICA KLAUS SINGS THE Peggy Lee SONGBOOK
Returns For Command Encore Performance, May 31-June 1.
After a successful, nearly sold-out presentation April 25-26 of this year, Veronica Klaus returns for an encore performance of VERONICA KLAUS SINGS THE Peggy Lee SONGBOOK, May 31-June1 at the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko. Accompanied by the incomparable Tammy Hall Trio, the program will remain ostensibly the same, with a small handful of songs rotated in.
Glamour. Style. Poise. Presence. Voice. These are the first five things that are abundantly apparent in the opening moments of VERONICA KLAUS SINGS THE Peggy Lee SONGBOOK, as they were during the April run. Tammy Hall Trio provides accompaniment, with the ever-magnificent Hall's multi-dynamic piano mastery, Daniel Fabricant's bass providing swinging jazz to Latin licks & Kent Bryson's tuneful timely drums & percussion.
Klaus does remarkable work on so many of the tunes. Rogers & Hart's "Lover" (the "Love to Love You Baby" of its time after Lee's treatment, Klaus shared) went from a gentle waltz to a hot Brazilian Samba. Klaus serves a spiced-up vocal with Kent Bryson's scorching solo turning up the heat. "Moments Like This" is a crisp lesson in the mastery of dynamics, both in her interpretation of the song & how she works the audience. "He Needs Me" is a winning example of less is more, a clean simplicity creating a rich specificity in her delivery.
"I Lost My Sugar in Salt Lake City" gives Klaus opportunity to display more versatility, but it is proof-positive that the Bay Area is the home to a pianist (Hall) whose skills blur boundaries of distinction, mastering a wide array of styles. Sublime, oft-times surprising when she melds styles within a passage, Hall is able to hold an audience rapt with her solo skills in a way that is magical, as if conjuring some grand force from the beyond.
Saving the best for last, as in encore, what Klaus does with the penultimate Lee classic "Fever" is nothing short of a master class in how to take an iconic tune & make it your own. From the intro, which has a near-recitative quality that draws the audience closer in, to Klaus' own custom lyrics in the spirit of the original, to her saucy, playfully-knowing phrasing, to a clear self-awareness that she knows how to do this tune justice and then some, every moment of "Fever" raises the mercury higher in the thermometer. An endless supply of extra-strength Tylenol couldn't quash this "Fever" - Klaus delivers the hottest, version of this song this writer has ever heard. An indescribable excitement washes over an audience when they've witnessed the rebirth of a classic & at song's end, the audience will assuredly leap to their feet as they did during the April performances.
Bringing added heat to fuel this "Fever" is the weaving of inspired piano work by Hall. Bryson's crafty drum breakdown invokes the original, then sways to Klaus' bold original take. Fabricant's wicked-hot bass solo burns a hole in the Rrazz floor (audiences in April appreciatively offered up wolf whistles & howls).
Selecting music from an artist whose career spanned nearly six decades & over 500 recordings is daunting, Klaus shared. Understandable. Finding which pieces to connect an evening together is always the greatest task in a tribute-style cabaret show. Yet Klaus has managed to craft an evening of music worthy of honoring Peggy Lee, providing some delightful, insightful pieces of personal history on the lady and her music, all while keeping a good steady flow to the evening.
For tickets to the the May 31-June 1 encore performance of VERONICA KLAUS SINGS THE Peggy Lee SONGBOOK, please go to www.therrazzroom.com. A limited number of discount tickets are available through Goldstar Events at www.goldstar.com.
Photo is courtesy of James Knox.