[JPL] Music Review | Annie Ross The Voice of Experience, but a Frisky Approach

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Fri Mar 16 10:40:16 EDT 2007

March 16, 2007

Media Alert: Annie Ross

Live  Review: 

March 16, 2007

Music Review | Annie Ross

The Voice of Experience, but a Frisky Approach

When the jazz legend Annie Ross barks out ³I Got Rhythm,² she turns this
great Gershwin standard into a hipster¹s credo. If you¹ve got as much rhythm
in your body and music in your head as Ms. Ross does at 76, who indeed could
ask for anything more?

Ms. Ross, who is appearing at the Metropolitan Room early Tuesday evenings
in an open-ended engagement, is accompanied by a quartet that includes Tardo
Hammer on piano, Neal Miner on bass, Jimmy Wormworth on drums and Warren
Vaché on trumpet. The passionate musical romance of Ms. Ross and Mr. Vaché
is a joy to behold. An intuitive musical dancing partner, he slips behind
her, lifts her up, twirls her around, covers her with kisses, then deposits
bouquets at her feet.

About Ms. Ross¹s voice, you might say the spirit is willing but the flesh is
weak. The only semireliable register of her tattered voice is the low end.
The tricky notes of her signature song, ³Twisted,² are nonnegotiable, but
she tries anyway. But as she sang this spoof of psychoanalysis (for which
she wrote the hilarious words), the song, which she must have sung thousands
of times by now, sounded as fresh and frisky as though it had just popped
into existence.

Ms. Ross is the antithesis of an aging diva reflectively considering her
life and loves. She treats ³My Old Flame² as a song of no regrets, a happy
memory of the lover who sexually awakened her but whose name slips her mind.

Only once on Tuesday did Ms. Ross plunge into the dark side. ³Lush Life,² a
half-spoken dramatic monologue, pressed every emotional and psychological
button in Billy Strayhorn¹s precociously sophisticated lyric. She became the
self-pitying, self-destructive narrator drinking away her disappointment
over a failed relationship that was only a fantasy to begin with. I¹ve never
heard so much bitter juice extracted from lyrics that contain several
pitchers of extra-dry martinis.

Annie Ross is performing on Tuesdays at the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd
Street, Flatiron district; (212) 721-6500.

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