Kitano, NYC, February 3, 2017
Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes
If I were designing Heaven, I’d include an intimate, cozy restaurant/bar featuring a grand jazz singer and a small, top-flight combo to accompany her. Oh! Wait! There is such a spot, here on Earth—singer and musicians included. It’s Kitano, on the midtown East Side, the singer is Joyce Breach, and the musicians are Jon Weber on piano and Jay Leonhart on bass—all of whom, on a recent February evening, graced the room with a program of favorite songs rendered in silken-smooth, easy-going melodious manner.
Numbers included a lovely collection of classic hits by top songwriters, interpreted by Joyce with her warm-honey voice, and featuring numerous instrumental breaks by Jon and Jay (with Jay’s bowing accompanied occasionally by his spirited humming).
Songs included: “How About You?” by Burton Lane and Ralph Freed, originally introduced in the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movie Babes on Broadway; “The Things We Did Last Summer,” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne; Bart Howard’s “You Are Not My First Love,” (“but you are the first to last”); two songs by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (“Soon It’s Gonna Rain” from The Fantasticks, and “I’m Glad to See You’ve Got What You Want,” (a Weber solo)’ from Celebration; a classic Irving Berlin (“Love and the Weather”); two helpings of Richard Rodgers (“It Never Entered My Mind,” with lyrics by Lorenz Hart) and “The Sweetest Sounds” (lyrics by Rodgers, from No Strings); Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields’ “It’s a Nice Face” (featuring Jay on bass). And more.
Joyce Breach and her duo’s music, combined with Kitano’s menu and comfortable style, make for a lovely evening out—on this planet.