Jillian Laurain: Just Jillian

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Jillian Laurain

Just Jillian

Pangea, NYC, May 4, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Jillian Laurain

Jillian Laurain put together another stellar show for her audience. She’s consistently a strong personality with a touch of theatricality, high-end vocals, and endearing stories. At Pangea, she gave us more of the same and was joined by a pair of my favorite musicians on piano and jazz guitar—Jon Weber and Sean Harkness, respectively. The three together created a wonderful melding of forces that made good songs extraordinary.

My high praise for this trio is reflected in three songs: “It Might Be You” (Dave Grusin/Alan & Marilyn Bergman), “Losing My Mind” (Stephen Sondheim), and “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be)” (Jimmy Davis/Roger Ramirez/Jimmy Sherman). Laurain’s consistent, clear, and clean vocals take jazz-oriented songs and turn them into operatic soprano vehicles without being overpowering. This was evident on the especially well done “It Might Be You” with lovely lines “So many quiet walks to take/so many dreams to wake.” She applied this same style equally well to the Broadway classic “Losing My Mind.”

To close out the show, Laurain sang a strong “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be),” supported by an excellent bit of jazz guitar by Harkness. The ease with which he can create interesting sounds with his guitar is outstanding. Weber added his own piano solos and easily navigated the songs’ melodies. The group will be back at Pangea later this year. Each is a performer to catch ASAP.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see StruckChris.com