KT McCammond: Bye Bye Bash

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KT McCammond

Bye Bye Bash

Le Piano, Chicago, IL, July 26, 2021

Reviewed by Carla Gordon

KT McCammond

Some experiences in live entertainment bring a degree of energy and joy for which they will be long remembered.  Such was KT McCammond’s Bye Bye Bash. The event was a farewell concert by McCammond and talented friends honoring her saying goodbye to being based in Chicago.  (Happily, for her fans, she will make return visits to the Windy City to perform in projects.)

The show was presented with two distinct acts: The first was more like traditional cabaret with pianist Beckie Menzie and singer Bob Salone; the second act had Bobby Schiff stepping in at the piano.

McCammond brings chops that can deliver well the sensual and the classic, graceful physicality, and above all an open heart. An early highlight was “The Accordionist” by Greg Opelka. It’s a droll story song about the justifiable homicide of a droning accordionist by one forced to listen. McCammond sold it so well that we agreed with the judge’s dismissal of her murder case while simultaneously craving madeleines. Another highlight was her being joined by gal pals Joan Curto and Pam Peterson for a trio of “Diva,” a funny parody of Peggy Lee’s “Fever,” in which Cleopatra kisses her asp.

McCammond’s duetting of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” with Menzie brought out heart and soul galore. “Falling Slowly, performed in a duet with Salone (with whom McCAmmond has shared a long-running engagement at the East Bank Club) had lovely harmonies.

After intermission, Bobby Schiff took the keyboard where he was joined by bassist Jim Cox and percussionist Tim Davis. The jazz section of Bye Bye Bash opened with “C’est Si Bon,” to which Chicago audiences were first introduced in McCammond’s tribute to Eartha Kitt. McCammond captured the sensuality of that song as did Eartha, but nevertheless, made it her own.

McCammond’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” took this jazz standard to a level of volcanic energy into which her packed-to-the-rafters audience was clearly caught up. “Summertime” featured a languid arco solo by bassist Cox. Closing with “Georgia on My Mind” made us all think of home and hoping that Chicago will now become a home to which KT McCammond and her music will return often.

Carla Gordon

Carla Gordon is a singer/songwriter, director, and producer. The Chicago Tribune cited her among “Chicago’s most accomplished cabaret performers….a major player in Chicago cabaret.” Reviewer Pam Peterson called her “Honey-voiced wisecracker!” Ageless Magazine called her performance as Sophie tucker, “A gem!” Gordon writes custom material for singers nationwide. Her flagship show, "Blacklisted," featuring songs made famous by artists blacklisted under McCarthyism, has toured to critical acclaim. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and on the Advisory Board of the Skokie Theater. Her songs air on WFMT’s Midnight Special and are being performed performed by cabaret artists nationwide. carlacabaret@aol.com