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The American Songbook Preservation Society's Los Angeles Benefit Concert 5/11/2008 by Julie Cresswell What a treat I got on Mother's Day! Cathy Segal-Garcia, known not only for her great jazz singing, but also for her active dedication and involvement in stimulating our musical community, put together a fabulous concert of about 15 of the L.A. area's most prominent jazz singers to benefit the American Songbook Preservation Society, under the direction of Executive Director Ron Kaplan. With superb, tasty and swinging trio backup of Karen Hammack on piano, John Hatton on bass and Kurt Walther on drums, the singers each offered gems from the Great American Songbook, complete with sensitive introductions about the songwriter(s) and the history of their chosen songs. Well, one can say that darn, we only got to hear a song from each, but then again, we all want to leave our audiences 'wanting more' and we definitely wanted to 'hear more' from each and every one of these wonderfully talented singers! So, as people have asked me. Who was my favorite? Very difficult to say, every singer put their heart and soul into each song, and brought their personality and distinctive style, so each song provided a new interpretation and thoughtful improvisations, true to this art form - jazz! And I truly enjoyed each and every minute! The concert was held at Alan Goldman's stunning home theater in the hills of Mt. Washington...(we were all sitting there thinking 'In my dreams, I'd have a space like this!!') Thank you Alan, for providing this wonderful place to be! The concert was filmed by noted documentary filmmaker, Ken Koenig, and his son Eric. Cathy Segal-Garcia introduced each singer, and opened this concert on a gorgeous note with her beautiful interpretation of 'Some Other Time' written by Leonard Bernstein with Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Cathy's thoughtful introduction gave us a little insight into the lives of these wonderful musical talents. As the youngest daughter of the great Billy Eckstine, what a story she can tell! Gina followed with 'My Foolish Heart', a song by Victor Young and Ned Washington which was originally introduced in the 1949 movie of the same title. The power and emotion in her voice was awesome, and she wowed us with a double ending doing it her way and then Mr.B's! What a treat, thank you, Gina! Dini Clarke took over the mic next and kept on swingin' with 'Just In Time' by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, showing his full range of talented interpretation and feeling for the music. Kevyn Lettau was next and brought us an energetic and swinging version of 'Almost Like Being In Love (Lerner & Lowe). After a brief break, Jack Wood opened the second set, and we heard a v-e-r-y smooth 'Time After Time' by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. Jack has great phrasing, and he's swinging, warm and velvety smooth (was Frank in the room smiling?) Talk about being surprised at every turn! Cheryl Barnes got up next and gave us a tasty bossa version of 'I Didn't Know What Time It Was' by Rodgers and Hart. What command Cheryl. Bravo! Charming and cool Mark Winkler got up and brought us a swingin' and hip Bobby Troup song - the first was Bobby's best known hit for Nat King Cole, 'Route 66'. Mark gave us a great introduction on Bobby's first meeting with Nat and how 'Route 66' came to be inspired and written. Mark - Bobby was proud, and Julie was smiling! Next, another rare treat - Pinky Winters! Pinky knows so many tunes from the Great Ameri Live Benefit Concert 5-11-2008 (DVD)
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