The Triad Theater New York, NY
Players: Gregory Toroian, piano; Skip Ward, bass; David Silliman, drums
Material: She’s played some of the premier New York City clubs on the cabaret and jazz circuits, and in a livestream from the Triad Theater, she does so again with class and impeccable taste. Her repertoire runs the gamut from well-known gems like “You Go To My Head,” “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,” and “What The World Needs Now,” to less obvious choices like “Come To Baby, Do” and “Live For Life.” Ross also performs a portion of her repertoire in French, with a spot on, authentic French accent. Even if you aren’t familiar with entire song list, Ross’ execution is musically satisfying, making engagement easy.
Musicianship: If you close your eyes and listen to her vocals, you may think the spirit of Edith Piaf has been awakened, especially when Ross sings in French. Her tone is warm, mellow, and consistent, and when you think you’ve heard her entire vocal range, she surprises you with some fuller voiced notes. Every song she tackles is in service of that song, putting it ahead of her own persona. Backed by a top-notch trio, with pianist Gregory Toroian at the helm, they fully support Ross at every turn, with well thought out, highly artistic arrangements that put a spin on some songs while maintaining their intrinsic integrity. Most notable is Toroian’s arrangement of “Laura,” (from the same titled movie), which opens with a stunning piano solo, laying the foundation for the song’s ethereal mood.
Performance: Ross takes the stage with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” a crowd pleaser from a beloved musical, and a user-friendly way to kick off the set. Next up, is “Bewitched,” the song the show (and her current release) is named for, which could be a metaphor for Ross’ reverence for the material. Her overall delivery is reserved, but effective. We do get a glimpse of some of the repertoire’s background; however, Ross might further unveil more about why these songs have meaning for her as well as providing insight into her ongoing love affair with the French language. Shaving one or two songs from the setlist for future streaming shows, might also tighten the internet viewing experience.
Summary: Suzanna Ross offers a first-rate musical journey, with discerning attention to her chosen repertoire. She never upstages the material but can afford to bring more of herself into the mix, letting us inside to what drives her passions. – Ellen Woloshin