BWW Review: SPENCER DAY Wraps Up A Full Year at The Green Room 42 and Defines Cool Jazz with a Few Queer Overtones
Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T.
What day is it darlings? It's Spencer Day, and are we ever glad we spent our Saturday night celebrating the handsome cooler-than-ice, hotter-than-fire jazz chart-topper Day at The Green Room 42. Now, youse all know that Bobby loves his singers that sing the songs of the great lavender (I mean white) way, and, fortunately, the ever-so-handsome Spencer did not disappoint in this department, but he did so with a coolest of jazz feel that gave this writer all the feels, let me tell ya. Referring to himself as "A less iconic Harry Connick," this out and proud singer, songwriter, and musician is a #1 Billboard charting pop/jazz performer who escaped the Utah ties that bind, came out of "THAT" closet and has been making his own music in life and on stage ever since. Day ended his year-long residency at GR42 with a showcase of his brilliant covers and a diverse cross-section of his own original tunes using the full range of his talents including material from his recent album Angel City and a preview of Broadway By Day, his soon to be released theater inspired collection. All this wonderful music along with funny anecdotes like the story of how he wanted to marry Judy Garland when he was 5 and his mother's conclusion that that was when all the trouble started made the pink pallor'ed evening a delight for this rainbow boy.
With a rich heart-melting baritone and swinging, improv-ish arpeggios, Day makes each song he covers his own whether he stands at the mic or sits at the piano to accompany himself, with deference given, of course, to his fellow pianist/composer, Richard Sears who periodically relinquished the bench to the boss. Opening with the perirenal Lounge-Lizard fave, "Getting to Know You" from The King & I, where one might seriously roll one's eyes, Day lifts the song out of lizard-dom with his gimmicks; a voice to cream anybody's coffee and a face with eyes and smile to charm your "luckys". His patter made the audience laugh a good deal owing to a charm that demonstrated that he himself, personally, was not nearly as cool as his jazzy arrangements and smooth vocal stylings. Peppering in original songs to his Broadway staples he regaled the audience with a song he wrote for Fran Drescher's cancer awareness event titled, "Too Old To Sleep My Way To The Top," making us all laugh at the willingness one might have to push one's mid-life career ahead if the willing were stronger than the flesh.
Suffering a bit of what he called "Show ADD" Spencer shuffled the order of his setlist on the fly throughout the show, giving his musicians a challenge at keeping up. At times, he had to wait while bass, guitar & drums flipped music pages to get on his page, but Day kept it funny in his Aw Shucks, Nerd Hot way. Whether he was hypnotizing us all with a Broadway favorite like Bali Hai or singing an original about selling his soul for radio play in LA, Spencer smoothed over the bumps from his ADD-like shifts and made us love him for it. Near the end of the concert, we were all treated to a FABULOUS surprise when Day brought to the stage a friend of his, the UBER-Cool Hilary Cole, who proceeded to knock everyone's socks off and made this writer google her the minute we got home. After her solo turn, Day joined Cole for an improvisational duet where they took on the old chestnut YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE with Day simply signaling key changes and improv riffs to his musicians who followed Cole and him expertly. Highlights of his original music for the evening were Day's songs Chateau Marmont, Poor Marie (a "tongue in cheek" take on the life of Marie Antoinette) and his haunting encore, Weeping Willow.
The evening we had the day we met Day is one for the record books my dearlings and if you have a chance to catch Spencer Day live in your city (see links to his tour dates below) we strongly suggest you jump him... I mean jump at him... it... The opportunity... Ohhh! You know what Bobby means, especially since we give Spencer Day 4 out of 5 Rainbows.