Veronica Swift and the Emmett Cohen Trio

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Veronica Swift and the Emmett Cohen Trio
Birdland Theater, NYC, November 26, 2019
Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Veronica Swift

I have been following the development of and been a fan of jazz vocalist Veronica Swift since she was an undergraduate at the University of Miami. At age 25, she has already become one of today’s top jazz vocalists. She makes every song uniquely hers. She can belt, swing, and then slow down to do a soft ballad.

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Her phrasing and enunciation are superb. She has a relaxed persona on stage, and her off-the-cuff remarks are quite amusing. In addition, she is a delight to look at, as she moves across the stage. The wonderful Emmet Cohen Trio was an integral part of the show, and Swift has the confidence on stage to let Cohen (piano), Bryan Carter (drums), and Yasushi Nakamura (bass) display their individual talents. Cohen’s solos drew applause throughout the show.

The show opened with the Cohen Trio revving up the SRO crowd with a medley of loud and lively jazz numbers, with each member having solos to show off their individual talents. Swift’s opening number was a swinging “How Lovely to Be a Woman.” She then glided around the stage singing “Money, Money.

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” Her facial expressions are always interesting, especially on her super-fast “Forget About the Boy.” That one ended with her showing that she has the ability to hold the last note on a song, as she did with the final word “Free.” Swift easily shifted from a super-fast song to a slow and tender “As Long as He Needs Me.” After speaking about her recent trip to England, she slowly sang the verse to “Getting to Know You,” then turned the song into a jazz number by speeding up the tempo; the number also included a wonderful solo on bass by Nakamura.. Swift said she learned her first jazz song listening to Annie Ross, and then channeled the recording of Ross’ “Twisted.” She showed her ability to scat with the best of them in her performance of “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” which included a bombastic drum solo by Carter. She once again handled a ballad especially well with her well-acted “Someone to Watch Over Me.” The closing number, “Guess Who’s in Town,” was mostly dazzling piano playing by Cohen and scatting by Swift.

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.