Annie Ross

Elizabeth Alfors
Cabaret Scenes
August 2005

Fun to be Fooled (Gershwin, Harburg and Arlen) launches Annie Ross’s cabaret show, Let Me Sing, at Danny’s Skylight Room. From there, it’s all a musical adventure with a discerning selection of standards to reflect the humor and heartbreak of love. While this legendary jazz stylist’s voice is no longer the bright, versatile tone of the early days, she still signs with her own vibrant signature, stressing the Fun in the lyric like the punch line of a private joke.

Annie Ross is an accomplished and experienced actress as well as singer; her enunciation is clear, the stress and phrasing acute, and with her easy charm, the package is complete. She dives deep into the lyrics and brings out the core with a sure sense of rhythm, stress, and savvy so personal you’ll feel you’re hearing her soul. Let your imagination roam and zoom back to World War II London with her affectionate memory of when, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Sherman/Maschwitz); you’ll feel the pain of Strayhorn’s Lush Life and share pleasant remembrances during a train ride with, I Thought About You (Van Heusen and Mercer). Instead of swinging Accentuate the Positive (Mercer and Arlen) into an inspirational call-to-arms, Ross delivers the feel of hard-earned lessons. Alone Together (Dietz and Schwartz) cries with yearning; she takes the Gershwins’ Isn’t It a Pity and phrases it without pity but bittersweet irony.

One sweet selection pairs a couple of oldies, Kiss Me Again and Indian Summer, saluting Victor Herbert, so touching only a curmudgeon wouldn’t reach for the hankie. Ross’s one jazz presentation is her vocalese classic, Twisted, (Wardell Gray’s tune).

Ross is backed by Tardo Hammer on piano and drummer Jimmy Wormworth. On opening night, trumpet extraordinaire, Warren Vache, added his inimitable obbligato behind her. What a treat.

Born in England, Annie Ross made her name in jazz when she spent several years as member of the trio, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Make your reservation to listen, and feel, Let Me Sing, at Danny’s. This is a show you don’t want to miss.