Sally Kellerman: A Little Jazz, A Little Blues, A Little Rock and Roll

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Sally Kellerman

A Little Jazz, A Little Blues, A Little Rock and Roll

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, August 1, 2015

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes

Sally-Kellerman-Cabaret-Scenes-MagazineSally Kellerman is the definition of “laid back,” at one point actually dropping onto her back onstage in faux exhaustion. Her phrasing is so leisurely, you think the music might pass her by before she carefully lays out the lyrics. At times she appears surprised to hear a song’s intro before giving a knowing look and revealing the first lines. Behind the unhurried approach is a master romantic balladeer and singer of the blues who uses her unique timing to enhance the lyric and entice the emotions of every song.

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Her style is evident on Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s sensuous “The Look of Love,” as well as a smart medley of the duo’s “Walk On By” mixed with Harry Nilsson’s hit, “Without You.

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” Kellerman’s low-ranged growls work magic on blues numbers like “Damn Your Eyes” (Steve Bogard/Barbara Wyrick), the old Bessie Smith hit “Sugar in My Bowl” and “Black Coffee” (Sonny Burke/Paul Francis Webster). Bringing songwriter Ken Hirsch to the piano, Kellerman sweetly delivers “I Still Miss You” (Hirsch/Paul Williams) and “If I Could” (Hirsch/Ron Miller/Marti Sharron).

“Say It Isn’t So,” a torch song by Mervyn Warren and recorded on Kellerman’s CD, Sally, is bittersweet and sorrowful in her capable hands. Still gorgeous and slinky, Kellerman is always transparently honest and believable. She certainly turned many a man’s eyes in her day and may still when she bares her soul in a ballad like her beautiful treatment of “Lies of Handsome Men,” the popular Francesca Blumenthal song. Her voice and style are certainly unique and her passion for the songs undeniable.

Steve Murray

Always interested in the arts, Steve was encouraged to begin producing and, in 1998, staged four, one-man vehicles starring San Francisco's most gifted performers. In 1999, he began the Viva Variety series, a live stage show with a threefold mission to highlight, support, and encourage gay and gay-friendly art in all the performance forms, to entertain and document the shows, and to contribute to the community by donating proceeds to local non-profits. The shows utilized the old variety show style popularized by his childhood idol Ed Sullivan. He’s produced over 150 successful shows, including parodies of Bette Davis’s gothic melodramedy Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and Joan Crawford’s very awful Trog. He joined Cabaret Scenes 2007 and enjoys the writing and relationships he’s built with very talented performers.