Jill and Rich Switzer

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Jill and Rich Switzer

The RRazz Room at Mizner Park Cultural Center, Boca Raton, FL, March 21, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey Bruce for Cabaret Scenes

Jill & Rich Switzer
Photo: Kismet VIntage

Jill and Rich Switzer, who host The Morning Lounge on 100.3FM in South Florida, promised us a party, and indeed it was. Backed by a superb trio (Paul Sewchuk on bass, Frank Derrick on drums, and Jeff Taylor on guitar)—with Rich leading and adding musical accompaniments from his perch at the piano, as well as playing trumpet, sax and accordion (is there any instrument the man can’t play?)—the 90 minutes flew by.

The Switzers are an interesting pair. Having been together for over 20 years, Florida native Jill, the vocalist, gorgeous and soignee, and Rich…definitely not “soignee,” but adorable and charming in his Ohioan way, play off each other in a Keely-Louis, Steve-Eydie style that is funny and endearing.

Their radio show is very popular in South Florida and they enacted what a “typical” workday was like for them. Opening with a terrific intro, “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” moving into their “coffee song of the day,” “Black Coffee,” which led into the funny “Barrista Blues,” they conveyed just what energy and talent it takes to awaken at 4:45 each morning and “put on a show.” 

Jill, who is the very definition of “the girl band singer” of the ’40s ,reminds one of Margaret Whiting in her delivery and phrasing. Everything is effortless and her delivery of songs from The Great American Songbook is charming and sweet. I was waiting for fireworks from her and they blessedly arrived at the very end, with a rocking “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini).” When they reconfigure their act, I would like to see more “big” moments. Might I suggest “Son of a Preacher Man”? She’d bring the house down with Dusty Springfield’s classic. Conversely, I might also wish for “Ballad of the Sad Young Men” from The Nervous Set, and “Guess Who I Saw Today”—two story songs she would do wonders with. But that’s just my opinion.  She is Doris Day, Dinah Shore, and the aforementioned Ms. Whiting all rolled into one– likeable and charming. Her versions of “Pick Yourself Up,” “Too Darn Hot” and “By Special Request” were highlights.

But! It’s Mr. Switzer who holds the act together with his extraordinary musical aptitude. Watch him play the sax and the piano, simultaneously, and conduct the trio, as well. The showstopper of the evening was the most thrilling rendition of “Europa,” only with the musicians. I mentioned more “big” moments would work and Rich’s “Europa” and Jill’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” are two wonderful examples.

Full disclosure: I listen to Jill and Rich every morning, have lunched with them for the Cabaret Scenes interview on this web site, and loved every second of their act. If I was nitpicking, it’s only because I know that Jill has the belt, when necessary, and Rich can blow the house down with his musical aptitude. We adored them, as I think you will, when you get the opportunity to see them in person……or listen to them on 100.3 FM. Enjoy!

Jeffrey Bruce

Originally from Fresh Meadows, Queens, Jeffrey has been in nine national tours, including How to Succeed… (Finch), Camelot (Mordred) and Peter Pan (Hook). He has also had the pleasure to play leads in the entire Neil Simon catalogue. On television, he was the permanent guest host, for 21 years, on the #1 local talk show in the country Kelly & Company on WXYZ-TV, Detroit. He teaches a weekly Master Class in Drama in Boca Raton, Florida. His theater reviews are on talkinbroadway.com. Writing for Cabaret Scenes has enabled him to educate the public as to the superb cabaret resources that South Florida has to offer.