Review: Lea DeLaria
(January 28th 2010, 606 Club, review by Luke Pinkstone)
Lea DeLaria has it all. She’s outrageously funny, controversial, and is the proud owner of a powerful set of vocal cords. She is one of those people who seems to succeed at any career she turns to, having proved herself under many a spotlight: as jazz musician, Broadway diva, stand-up comic and several points in between, and beyond.
At Chelsea’s 606 Club she won over the audience immediately, kicking off with “Welcome To My Party,” which leapt back and forth between pushy, assertive swing and a pulled-back half-time feel. The combination of a flamboyant lead and a rock-steady rhythm section worked very well. The line-up was Lea DeLaria -vocals, Janette Mason – piano, Simon Little – double bass, and Paul Robinson – drums.
DeLaria’s history of Broadway even gave an excuse for her to revive a few songs from the shows which, under different circumstances, may have been in danger of sounding a bit clichéd. However, her pzzazz and charisma along with some groovy underlying rhythms made for a very palatable rendition of “All that Jazz”.
The band broached a few ballads during the night including “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “Night And Day” giving a refreshing contrast and showcasing the ensemble in a different light. The mood was set beautifully by rich soulful vocals, serene piano lines, light snare swishes and melodic bass lines, however, it was in the more upbeat numbers where the band came into their own, allowing DeLaria to let rip with impressive vocal improvisation.
The night was rounded off in style with “The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd”, the up tempo arrangement that first got DeLaria noticed by Warner Bros. This was followed up by a blues featuring 606 owner Steve Rubie, impressive on flute.
She also has a unique interpretation of the term “Jazz Jam”.Lea DeLaria was pleased to announce that, along with the back catalogue of CD’s for sale during the break, she would be selling her home made plum ‘jazz jam’. This time she wasn’t joking, although she did later jest that when one member of the audience was told the jam had sold out, they had simply responded with a disappointed “Well… I suppose I’ll have the CD then”.
I highly recommend the jazz. And the plum jam.