Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Virgin No More

I’ve been meaning to post on our experience seeing Ann Hampton Callaway perform in New York City. 
She was wonderful.
She has an incredibly smooth and sultry deep voice and she scats. I hate scat!  But for some reason, I liked the sound of it when she did it.  It could have been the atmosphere, the intimate swanky lounge with the skyline of Manhattan across Central Park (as viewed from the 5th floor of the Time-Warner building on Columbus Circle) behind her, or it could have been the cozy company of my most favorite person in the entire world outside of – well, let’s face it – sometimes even including myself, or it could have actually been her tremendously cool dulcet tones.  Most likely, it was a combination of all three.
Accompanied by Pete Washington on bass, Willie Jones III on drums, and “the fabulous” Ted Rosenthal on piano, she sang old standards, new ballads, and some songs she had written – each one seemingly more thrilling than the last. Don’t ask because I can’t remember a single title even though she sang one standard whose words I would really like to revisit and possibly learn to sing.
I do know that the entire time she was on stage, I was smiling like an idiot. While I didn’t actually see myself, I was completely enthralled with her voice.  Further evidence comes from a picture my husband took of me and Ann back backstage after the show (yes, we’re on a first name basis now) in which I looked not only dopey, but dazed as well. “Callaway virgin no more” she wrote on my Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola brochure as I gushed about how happy I was to hear her sing and how much I loved her and that is was my first time seeing her perform and . . .   So much for grace.

Here is a little video of Ann and the various skills she has displayed over the years (sorry if you can’t stand Rosie O’Donnell).


She is both a talented singer and songwriter.  Apparently, as evidenced in this video and as I experienced in person, part of her act is to take around eight random words from the audience and improvise a song. Her words, the evening we saw her, were:
Snow
Martini
Desire
Love
Delicious Cookies
and three more I can’t remember.  (I contributed one and it wasn’t martini!)
Given the disparate elements, she ended up singing quite a melodic, humorous, and mostly coherent song.   Sure, that part reminded me a little of the Mac Davis show, but I enjoyed the entire experience immensely.
I will definitely go back for more live Ann Hampton Callaway – and I'll take notes next time! In the meantime, I will enjoy her recorded music (check out #11: the very lovely On My Way to You).

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