Material: The artist’s show, Neile Adams Sings Kander and Ebb, directed by Ted Sprague, comes from Broadway productions written by the infamous duo John Kander and Fred Ebb. Outlined are such musicals as Chicago and Cabaret with tunes like “All That Jazz,” “A Quiet Thing,” “Arthur in the Afternoon” and Frank Sinatra’s signature song “New York, New York” that transport the listener back in time, pulling no punches as they touch your soul and bring back convivial memories of days past.
Musicianship: Adams was backed by seasoned professionals who came together with a minimum of flubs. Howe took charge from the opening note, setting the pace for a cabaret-style performance by Adams, Frank and Pemberton that oozed confidence and had the crowd engaged. Howe kept things running smoothly, playing perfectly placed melodies in between Adams’ vocals.
Frank effortlessly turned pages in a songbook with one hand and plucked the bass with the other simultaneously. Pemberton slapped the skins happily in a progressive and stylish mode with little strain.
Adams took about two minutes to settle down, and then she grabbed the bull by the horns, sang to it and made sure everyone in the house had a great time. Not an easy feat at age 84! Indeed, Adams can croon and wail like a 25-year-old singing in the shower.
Performance: The musicians let Adams be front and center for the performance, supplying confident support. Aside from a little solo here and there from Pemberton and Frank, it was mostly Adams who entertained the near-full Catalina Jazz Club.
Adams is a natural on stage. She has infectious stage presence, wrapped up in a thin, five-foot tall frame. She even did the “Flash Dance” stint with a chair and the only thing missing was the water.
Summary: Neile Adams is a pleasant surprise. She incorporates her own life into a fun Broadway cabaret theme, touching upon her marriage to the late, iconic actor Steve McQueen.
But Adams has no need to ride McQueen’s shirttail. Her credits include Broadway shows The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees and South Pacific, plus television and film appearances. Regardless of her prior credits, Neile Adams Sings Kander and Ebb is a delight.
Photo by Steve Moyer
The Players: Neile Adams, vocals; Andy Howe, piano, conductor, musical director; Alexander Frank, standup bass; Steve Pemberton, drums.
Venue: Catalina Jazz Club
City: Los Angeles, CA
To hear more of Neile Adams' music, visit her website!
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