La Tanya Hall and Andy Milne Trio

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La Tanya Hall and Andy Milne Trio

Birdland, NYC, January 18, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

La Tanya Hall

As it was Birdland, the mecca of the world of jazz, La Tanya Hall performed a very jazz-oriented show. The song list included numbers by many of giants of the jazz, world including Thelonious Monk, Jon Hendricks, Nat Adderley, and Fats Waller. The beautiful Hall showed off her ability as a jazz singer by displaying an amazingly controlled voice combined with a lovely sound. She was backed by the Andy Milne Trio—Milne (piano), James Genus (bass), Clarence Penn (drums)—and had the confidence on stage to give each of these excellent jazz artists a few solo opportunities.

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Soft notes on the piano opened Hall’s first song, “Pensativa,” which set the stage for the balance of the show by featuring solos by the three musicians. Hall displayed her stylized scatting with “Jitterbug Waltz.” She excited the crowd by going into the audience and asking men to “Say Yes,” as she performed ”All You Need to Say (Never Say Yes).” An interesting story about jazz patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter led into her a haunting vocal of Monk and Hendicks’ “Panonnica,” a tribute to the baroness. Hall left the stage and let the trio take over for two numbers — a swinging “Lulu’s Back in Town,” featuring a dazzling drum solo by Penn, and a soft and mellow original by Milne, “Vertical on Opening Night.” After giving a brief biographical sketch of Sarah Vaughan, Hall showed off her exceptional vocal range performing “Poor Butterfly” à la Vaughan.

The band performed “Dance Cadaverous” featuring excellent solo turns by Milne and Genus. The closing number performed excruciatingly slowly was “Because I Told You So.” The encore was a very up-tempo “Well, You Needn’t,” allowing Hall to display her skill at scatting.

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.