Ron Dabney: What You Need

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Ron Dabney

What You Need

with the Barry Levitt Quartet

Metropolitan Room, NYC, March 24, 2015

Reviewed by Annamaria Alfieri for Cabaret Scenes

Ron-Dabney-What-You-Need-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Ron Dabney brought his warm, mellow voice, his magnetic stage presence and, best of all, the Barry Levitt Quartet to the Metropolitan Room to give the audience what he thought we needed.   The show also gave us what we liked—very much.

He began with a swinging version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” with some great sax and driving piano embellishments that raised the energy level and set the tone. Going on to “Misty,” Dabney showed off his gift for interesting phrasing and high emotion. Both the energy and the emotion continued to the last song.

Throughout the performance, the Barry Levitt Quartet offered much more than accompaniment.

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With Levitt on piano, the wunderkind Steven Frieder on sax, Jon Burr on bass and Dwayne Broadnax on drums, they made the evening as much about sophisticated jazz playing as it was about nuanced interpretation of standards.

The emotional highpoint was a medley, which Dabney introduced by talking about his southern roots. The juxtaposition of “Georgia on My Mind,” “Strange Fruit,” and “Amazing Grace” brought chills without straying into unneeded excess.

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He followed this reminder of our country’s flawed past and present with “Tomorrow,” a paean to hope. What we needed—and liked—indeed.

Annamaria Alfieri

Annamaria Alfieri is the author of four acclaimed historical mysteries, including the current Strange Gods, which takes place in British East Africa in 1911 and is described as Out of Africa meets Agatha Christie. Writing as Patricia King, she also is the author of five nonfiction books, including Never Work for a Jerk, that landed her on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a past president of Mystery Writers of America, New York Chapter, and Vice President of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. She is a life-long fan of the American Popular song.