Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

Manhattan's summer nights will be swingin' on 42nd Street this year.

By: May. 23, 2021
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.




Existing user? Just click login.

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

The overhype syndrome is something that everyone has encountered from time to time. Maybe you've heard that a film or television show is the best one ever to be released, the greatest thing your friends have ever seen, the most important one made this year, this decade, this century. Then you go see it and, afterward, when everyone asks how you liked it, you reply, "It was ok." The overhype syndrome is frustrating, at best, and infuriating, at worst.

Last night, when Gabrielle Stravelli appeared at The West Bank Cafe, the overhype syndrome was far, far away.

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights One cannot be a part of the jazz music scene, as either industry or audience member, and not know who Gabrielle Stravelli is. Ms. Stravelli is considered one of today's jazz greats by many people, and those people are not wrong; those who do not consider Mr. Stravelli great are those who have not yet experienced her artistry - and even at that, people who have heard a Gabrielle Stravelli album still need to go see her live, for their own gratification, edification, or both. Ms. Stravelli is a marvel - like those superheroes from that famous comic book branch, only her superpower is making people feel good through music. People clearly know that because last night's dinner crowd at the West Bank occupied every table, and it wasn't just because of the delectable dinner menu - these people were paying rapt and rapturous attention to Stravelli and her band, cheering and applauding them through their two sets of dinner music. There is every chance that many of these patrons are regulars who know that Stravelli and co. are here every Saturday night at the same time, such was the ardor expressed for the petite jazz singer. Indeed, note this photo of Ms. Stravelli reacting to the entrance of a West Bank regular who, upon arriving at the restaurant, called out, asking if she remembered him:

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights The magic of a Gabrielle Stravelli performance is that the lady was born with a genuinely beautiful voice, the kind that can't be made, no matter how hard you practice - then, what she does with that voice is an irreproachable amalgamation of technical training and instinct, the latter of which cannot be bought. It's a combination that creates either a star or longevity - one expects that, in Ms. Stravelli's case, it will be both. The other thing about watching Gabrielle live is that she's fun. You can see what a great time she's having, and it's infectious; whether she's joking with the audience about the rumbling motors on the street, bantering with electrifying pianist Michael Kanan and accomplished bassist Pat O'Leary, or just allowing herself to get lost in the music as it swirls around her, Stravelli is as natural and unblemished in her persona as she is with her voice. The lady and the gents understand one another, implicitly, and throughout each set, two of the musicians take turns holding the other to the light in undaunted efforts to show them off, before all three gather as a unit once more, in blissful, beautiful harmony. Unafraid of singing ballads during a dinner music set, Gabrielle devotes plenty of time at the microphone between classics like "A Sleepin' Bee" or "That Old Black Magic" that have been deftly and dexterously arranged by the trio as up-tempos, but this writer was particularly taken with the trio's luscious and lovely treatment of Cab Calloway's "I'll Be Around." Rich with deep emotion and dulcet vocals, the classic tune would have inspired dinner guests to rise and begin slow dancing, at the same time inspiring ardent smiles of awe over the fact that there is a human being capable of creating a noise of such beauty, simply by opening her mouth - a noise we all wish we could make but that, alas, only the special are allowed to.

That's Gabrielle Stravelli, friends: special... and that ain't hype.

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio plays dinner music at The West Bank Cafe every Saturday night from 7 pm to 9 pm; there is no music charge, though there is a tip basket onstage for cash tips and a virtual tip jar for digital gratuities.

See a list of dinner music performances at The West Bank Cafe website HERE

Learn more about Gabrielle Stravelli and The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio on Gabrielle's website HERE.

Photos by Stephen Mosher

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights

Review: THE GABRIELLE STRAVELLI TRIO Packs The West Bank Cafe With Cool Cats On Saturday Nights



Comments

To post a comment, you must register and login.



Videos