Laurie Krauz & Daryl Kojak: Celebrate 25 Years of Making Music

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Laurie Krauz & Daryl Kojak

Celebrate 25 Years of Making Music

Metropolitan Room, NYC, July 12, 2016

Reviewed by Elizabeth Ahlfors for Cabaret Scenes

Laurie-Krauz-Daryl-Kojak-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212“As long as there’s the two of us/we’ve got the world and all its charms.”  (“The Glory of Love” by Bill Hill.)

These lyrics are made to order for Laurie Krauz and Daryl Kojak’s return visit to Celebrate 25 Years of Making Music at the Metropolitan Room. You can’t go wrong with Krauz and Kojak, whether it’s the first, second or third visit. This show premiered as a one-night-only in May as part of Stephen Hanks and Cabaret Life Productions’ New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits, and, when they returned in July, a second full house was there to greet them.

Call it jazz, rock or pop, the Krauz/Kojak songbook offers the best of interpretative music. With her rich, uniquely flexible vocal tone, Laurie Krauz gives it everything she’s got, delving into the realm of various genres, eliciting even the most covert roots of sensibility, bringing fresh inspiration and passion. She delivers innovative musical stories delivered with unmatchable scat, drama and dynamic extremes. Her high tones touch the clouds, her long tones stretch world-wide and she is down-to-earth chatting with her audience.

Daryl Kojak is a paramount pianist, backing Krauz with nuanced creativity. Their repertoire reaches all borders. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s dreamy love song “Some Enchanted Evening” was delivered straight and solid by Krauz, matching Kojak’s arrangement of exotic sounds, evocative of a sultry Shangri-La. Adding primary colors were Gene Lewin on drums and Sean Conly on bass, outstanding with the opener “Never Never Land” (Betty Comden/Adolph Green/Jule Styne).

On the darker side, Krauz was compelling as she excavated into heartbreak with the gentle, understanding support of Kojak in a pairing of Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s “A House Is Not a Home” and “Since You Stayed Here” (Peter Larson/Josh Rubins). She enjoyed a lusty flirtation with “Send Me a Man,” heard in Copulatin’ Blues, a recorded compendium of the early jazz/R&B genre of Dirty Blues. 

Not to be ignored were two original pieces by Kojak, “Birthday Blues” and “Duck Soup,” scat tunes performed by Krauz, who injected such communication that you might almost interpret the non-words. And look out—in “Duck Soup,” she might fool you with her sound of a quacking wah-wah mute, finishing by cajoling the audience to join in for an ending. 

Laurie Krauz and Daryl Kojak saluted their 25-year partnership in their finale, “Here’s to Life” (Phyllis Molinary/Artie Butler), as well as in their salute to their popular Tapestry Rewoven show, Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” Several standing ovations prove that this duo has the stuff to last and keep celebrating.

Elizabeth Ahlfors

Born and raised in New York, Elizabeth graduated from NYU with a degree in Journalism. She has lived in various cities and countries and now is back in NYC. She has written magazine articles and published three books: A Housewife’s Guide to Women’s Liberation, Twelve American Women, and Heroines of ’76 (for children). A great love was always music and theater—in the audience, not performing. A Philadelphia correspondent for and InTheatre Magazine, she has reviewed theater and cabaret for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia City News. She writes for Cabaret Scenes and other cabaret/theater sites. She is a judge for Nightlife Awards and a voting member of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle.