Tiffany Bailey: For All We Know

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Tiffany Bailey

For All We Know

Rockwell Table & Stage, Los Angeles, CA, January 12, 2017

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

Tiffany Bailey
Tiffany Bailey

2016 was a self-described “whack-a-doodle” year for Tiffany Bailey—one filled with personal challenges and frustrations—but it left her with positive insights that formed the core of her latest show. She is a strong stage presence with a big voice and a pleasing personality—able to hit the right emotional notes in every song—combined with an earnestness that makes it easy for an audience to believe what she says and go where she takes it.

Among the places she took it was a reflection of being diagnosed with the BRCA1 mutated gene. That put her at extremely high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, prompting her to undergo a double mastectomy last year—a situation Bailey acknowledged can take one to very dark places, which she demonstrated in a powerhouse performance of Amy Winehouse’s “I Heard Love Is Blind.”

The year also included the passing of Bailey’s mother-in-law, with whom she said she had a rocky relationship before realizing how similar the two women actually were. It’s a conclusion she turned into a plaintive, heartfelt reading of Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” in an emotion-packed arrangement that had a nice flow of highs and lows.

There was also a poignant tribute to Candice J. Hincks, a local cabaret singer who had died the night before the show: clearly an emotional subject that Bailey reflected in her performance of the title song by J. Fred Coots and Sam M. Lewis.

The show was definitely not all heavy ballad doom-and-gloom, however. Bailey showed her wide vocal range in a big, loud version of “Baby Workout” (Jackie Wilson/Alonzo Tucker); a hot and funky duet with guest Sidney Jacobs on “Use Me” (Bill Withers), including some impressive scatting by both singers; and a bluesy, crowd-pleasing version of Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” in a hookup with Karen Celeste Kruz.

The show’s highlight was a stunningly powerful duet on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” (Burt Bacharach/Hal David), with a full-throated Bailey abetted by the deep, strong pipes of Francesca Amari.

Bailey said she came through the year in good shape physically and emotionally, ending the show on a positive note with Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing” that had the house clapping and cheering. It was followed by a sweet shout-out to her husband in a beautiful version of Wonder’s “You and I.”

Bailey had amazing backing from Musical Director Rich Eames on piano, Gabe Davis on bass, Lee Spath on drums and the incomparable Nolan Shaheed on trumpet—a musician who steals the spotlight on every solo and then blends easily back into the ensemble.  The show was directed by Clifford Bell.

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.