Nicolas King

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Nicolas King

Birdland, NYC, February 25, 2018

Reviewed by Alix Cohen for Cabaret Scenes 

Nicolas King
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

A young man who’s worked hard his entire life (having started to perform professionally at the venerable age of 4), Nicolas King makes his appearances seem effortless. The kinetic artist—no one I can think of keeps every muscle in motion as continually as he—knows his instrument and marks his territory (the stage) as if a surveyor panning the audience like a camera.

Unfortunately, shows don’t change very much. This one contains a great deal of his familiar material. King even disinters the tandem “I Won’t Grow Up”/”I’ve Got No Strings,” which I believe was the first thing I saw him do on a cabaret stage. His vocals remain sure and well controlled. Over the years, long notes achieve further trajectory (really, does he have oxygen secretly pumped in?) and often intriguingly bridge; playful jazz tangents grow more frequent.

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The vocalist has Brat Pack swing down.

Tonight, King is backed by the excellent Billy Stritch (piano), Ray Marchica (drums,) and Neal Miner (bass).

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Highlights include “On Second Thought”/“Here’s That Rainy Day,” like an interior conversation during which not only brushes but cymbals whisper; “Sunday Morning,” which progresses from hands-in-pockets ease to scat, stretched, then staccato notes, and an amble down the road; a pristine “The Way She (He) Makes Me Feel” accompanied only by lustrous piano; and a conversational “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)” with decidedly ‘40s scat (the artist showcases several kinds) and precise tempo switch.

King and Stritch also sing a buoyant duet of “Just One of Those Things”/”Green Dolphin Street” in which I can only hope they’re having as much fun as we are.

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.