Rebecca Angel and The Dennis Angel Band

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Rebecca Angel and The Dennis Angel Band

Metropolitan Room, NYC, December 23, 2015

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Rebecca-Angel-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212It was two days before Christmas, and all through N.Y.C., many creatures were stirring: shopping, partying, traveling, and some of us hadn’t yet had our fill of holiday music. The Metropolitan Room’s decorations were all hung with care and we’d settled down for a show.

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Dennis Angel (trumpet and flugelhorn) led his sturdy band with two polished jazz instrumentals and then proudly and purposefully presented “the star of our show” (pause)—“….Rebecca Angel!!” Enter his college-aged daughter, in a sparkly mini-dress with long sleeves.

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The likeable, able young woman went into a breezy “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Smiling, swaying, cutely scrunching up her face with her enjoyment (I don’t think it was nerves), she seemed sweetly comfortable, clearly steeped in music, especially jazz. She takes on the challenging “Yardbird Suite” and “Centerpiece” and swings “Tea for Two.” She scats. A lot. The blithe “My Favorite Time of the Year,” written by Dad, her new CD single, is simple but effective cheer for the holiday season. Besides the fine band, classmate Jonah Prendergast’s guitar accompaniments added intimate feel.

Rebecca shows promise, but needs polish. There’s no excuse for young performers using sheet music on music stands on stage. Period. Glancing down frequently, it robbed her of audience eye contact opportunities, seeming inadequately prepared, and comes off as “Rehearsal.” Someone just emerging from teen years needs age-appropriate material and can’t be convincing singing that she has “found…the meaning of existence” (“Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars”) or sound philosophical and wise about the ways of love (“But Beautiful”). And patter should be more creative than variations on “The next piece is one that…” This is the stuff that’s quite fixable with “homework” and care.  She gets higher marks in Musical Skills and Aptitude, way “ahead of her class.”

Rob Lester

2015 is native New Yorker Rob Lester's eighth year as contributing writer, beginning by reviewing a salute to Frank Sinatra, whose recordings have played on his personal soundtrack since the womb. (His Cabaret Scenes Foundation member mom started him with her favorite; like his dad, he became an uber-avid record collector/ fan of the Great American Songbook's great singers and writers.) Soon, he was attending shows, seeking out up-and-comers and already-came-ups, still reading and listening voraciously. He also writes for and, has been cabaret-centric as awards judge, panel member/co-host, and produces benefit/tribute shows, including one for us.