Claudia Koval: A Journey Over 50 Years of Great Music

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Claudia Koval

A Journey Over 50 Years of Great Music

Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA, Oct. 1, 2014

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

Claudia-Koval-A-Journey-Over-50-Years-of-Great-Music-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Claudia Koval has a smooth, creamy voice that lends itself well to singing standards—with delicate delivery featuring gentle jazz licks, precise enunciation and a slight quaver in her voice that adds to the emotional arc of each song. And what songs they are in this show—each a gem from a different era, from a light-hearted take on “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (Fats Waller/Harry Brook/Andy Razaf) to a mellifluous rendering of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Harry Warren/Al Dubin) to a reflective, beautifully phrased “Sentimental Journey” (Les Brown/Ben Homer/Bud Green).

Koval also delivered a sensuous, deliberate “Body and Soul” (Johnny Green/Edward Heymann/Robert Sour/Frank Eyton), a powerful “Fly Me to the Moon” (“In Other Words”) (Bart Howard), and a soft, tender version of the Bonnie Raitt-recorded “Home” (Karla Bonoff).

She ended the show with a sincere, forthright wish for her audience — “The Sweetest of Nights and the Finest of Days” (Shelly Markham/Judith Viorst).

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Among other selections, Koval performed an evocative “Got to Get You into My Life” (Paul McCartney) and, in what she called a “real departure” for herself, a rousing version of the Janis Joplin hit, “Piece of My Heart” (Bert Berns/Jerry Ragovoy), sung with enough tweaks to make it fit very well into the cabaret milieu.

There was also a delicate “The Shadow of Your Smile” (Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster) that culminated in a beautiful series of final notes.

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In a moment dedicated to her mother, there was a heartfelt “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Hugo Peretti/Luigi Creatore/George David Weiss), in which she delivered each note with perfection.

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Koval began most songs conventionally, then slipped gently into soft jazz patterns that gave her three musicians—billed as her “three gents”—ample opportunity to strut their own stuff: Andris Mattson, her godson, on piano; Ken Herrera on drums; and Nick Klingenberg on bass.

Elliot Zwiebach

Elliot Zwiebach loves the music of The Great American Songbook and classic Broadway, with a special affinity for Rodgers and Hammerstein. He's been a professional writer for 45 years and a cabaret reviewer for five. Based in Los Angeles, Zwiebach has been exposed to some of the most talented performers in cabaret—the famous and the not-so-famous—and enjoys it all. Reviewing cabaret has even pushed him into doing some singing of his own — a very fun and liberating experience that gives him a connection with the performers he reviews.