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Review: Angela Bacari Brings Some Real Razzle-Dazzle to ONE NIGHT ONLY! at Don't Tell Mama

Angela Bacari Blows the Roof off Don't Tell Mama

Review: Angela Bacari Brings Some Real Razzle-Dazzle to ONE NIGHT ONLY! at Don't Tell Mama

There are certain events in the cabaret world that bring the entire community together because they just feel very special. One of those events happened last night at Don't Tell Mama when Angela Bacari made a rare NYC appearance in her show ONE NIGHT ONLY! The show was made all the more special by being a family affair. It was directed by her grandson, cabaret performer Nicolas King and even included a duet with her daughter Lisa Ferraro. The room was literally star-studded, with many luminaries of the NY cabaret world in attendance. It felt very much like the old days of cafe society when Broadway stars would turn up after their shows to catch a supper club headliner.

Angela Bacari is 78 years young. But nothing in either her appearance or performance belies that fact. The woman has pipes and she knows how to use them. She is a jazz stylist who can rank with some of the greats. She can belt to the rafters but is also capable of very tender passages. She has an amazingly supple technique, which explains why she is so in demand as a vocal coach to the stars, counting Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson, Deana Martin, and Billy Gilman among her protegés. She has appeared on The Merv Griffin Show, and The Dinah Shore Show as well as opening for Rodney Dangerfield, Phyllis Diller, Bill Cosby, and Pat Cooper. But last night, she was the headliner and the crowd went wild for her. It was been nearly 40 years since Ms. Bacari has made an appearance on the NY stage and it is highly overdue.

She kicked it into high gear from the very first moment with a swinging, uptempo version of "What a Difference a Day Makes." She hit the stage running, going straight for the high notes and impressive jazz riffs. She continued with a classic, "As Time Goes By." She gave the room a special thrill in a tribute to her longtime musical director and friend, the late Mike Renzi. Her beautiful version of Alan and Marilyn Bergman's "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" was played from a chart by Renzi. It was a fitting and heartfelt acknowledgment of this jazz giant.

She gave panache to Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" which she combined cleverly with "Some of These Days." She delivered a poignant performance of Neil Sedaka's "The Hungry Years." She stuck with Sedaka, giving us his beautiful song "I Should've Never Let You Go." This song was a very special treat since she welcomed her daughter Lisa Ferraro to the stage to duet with her. They both knocked it out of the park.

She sang a great piece of special material entitled "Here's to My Band!" She wasn't just whistling Dixie. She was supported by some of the best musicians working today. Musical director Tedd Firth is one of the best in the business. He played several virtuosic and inventive solos throughout the evening, Steve Doyle on bass and Ray Marchica on drums were the most wonderful sidemen anyone could ask for.

Angela Bacari started the last section of her concert by inviting Billy Gilman to the stage. Unfortunately, the two didn't sing together, but Gilman, a runner-up on The Voice, took the opportunity to talk about how meaningful Barcari's presence in his life has been. It was quite touching. Bacari had everyone reaching for their hankies with her performance of "What I Did For Love." She addressed the audience directly with "You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You." It was an ending that couldn't be improved upon. And yet she did. Returning to the stage, she gave us a quiet and passionate encore of "I'll Be Seeing You" in which she promised to be back performing in New York soon. Personally, I'm holding her to that promise. Angela Bacari is the real deal, a pro who does everything with amazing style and finesse. I feel honored to have seen her.

I must apologize for the lack of photos in this article. I generally try to include several to give an impression of the event. Don't Tell Mama has a strict "no-picture" policy which they were enforcing last evening. I hope they will reconsider this policy, as they are the last cabaret room in town to hang on to this relic of the past. In this age of "hashtag and share" social media, it seems a hindrance for this club to prevent their artists from having a social media presence. They are one of my favorite clubs. I always enjoy going there. This particular policy, though, seems out of touch with the times.

To learn more about Angela Bacari, follow her @angelab1 on Twitter or @angela_bacari on Instagram. To see more fantastic performers at Don't Tell Mama, visit donttellmamanyc.com.


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