Birdland Big Band

| January 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

Birdland Big Band

Birdland, NYC, December 26, 2017

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

David DeJesus

The Big Band Era is not over; it is alive and doing fine when the Birdland Big Band takes over the stage at the club from which it gets its name. David DeJesus (pictured) leads a 15-piece orchestra of “All Star” musicians. Calling the band a collection of “All Stars” is not hyperbolic, as every member got a chance to do a solo turn which drew cheers from the sold-out crowd. The band was joined by a very charming and talented young vocalist, Lucy Wijnands, for this holiday show. They brought back memories of the some of the best big bands of the 1950s and 1960s, including those led by Woody Herman, Count Basie, and Maynard Ferguson.

The show opened appropriately with George Shearing’s “Lullabye of Birdland.” DeJesus did a finger-tapping saxophone solo on Thad Jones’ “Big Dipper.” Woody Herman’s Herds were remembered with “Fried Buzzard” and “Creepy Scat Blues.” “That Warm Feeling” opened with a soft piano solo à la Count Basie. The band performed a breathtaking, super-fast “Hit and Run” (Maynard Ferguson) described by DeJesus as the fastest number ever. Guest vocalist Wijnands had a very pretty sound and the power to sing over the 15 musicians during her set, beginning with a swinging “All the Things You Are” and ending with “Sleigh Ride” to celebrate the season. The closing number was an explosive performance of “Left Bank Express.”

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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AJ Lambert

She has a beautiful voice and her own very natural phrasing ability.