Jazz at Kitano, NYC, April 12, 2017
Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes
Young male jazz singers who have a great sound are a rare breed these days. Jonathan Karrant is one of the very best of them. He combines his pleasant sound with an ability to swing and even scat, but he also has the ability to do justice to a soft ballad. He brings his own interpretation to each number and, when backed by a trio of outstanding musicians—John di Martino (Musical Director/piano), Neal Miner (bass), Vince Cherico (drums)—he has the confidence to let the band take over when appropriate. The very handsome Karrant looks confident on stage, and his patter between songs is limited, but often amusing.
He opened with two jazzy numbers, “Moondance” and “No Moon at All.” He then did a soft and introspective “Nature Boy” featuring an excellent solo by di Martino. A brief history of the origin of the song preceded a warm and moving “Mr. Bojangles.” Karrant proved that a male could do justice to “Love for Sale.” He began by singing the verse softly, and then slowly gyrated sexually as he swung the rest of the number, interjecting a couple of funny remarks during the song. He showed off his ability to belt out a song with a dynamic performance of George Michael’s “Kissing a Fool.” Karrant did “Who Can I Turn to (When Nobody Needs Me)” his way, with a very slow beginning and a very big finish that ended with him holding the last note for an amazing length of time. As Marilyn Maye (Karrant’s mentor) was in the audience, he dedicated a very sexy “Teach Me Tonight” to her. He allowed the band to take over, with each of the musicians doing a solo turn, while he scatted to “Twisted.” He closed with his best number of the night, a thrilling “The Curtain Falls,” which had him holding the final note while the crowd cheered.