[JPL] The Voice of Experience, but a Frisky Approach

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 21 18:57:05 EDT 2007

March 16, 2007
Music Review | Annie Ross
The Voice of Experience, but a Frisky Approach 
Correction Appended

When the jazz legend Annie Ross barks out “I Got
Rhythm,” she turns this great Gershwin standard into a
hipster’s credo. If you’ve 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. Ross’s 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, “Twisted,” 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 “My Old Flame” 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. “Lush Life,” a half-spoken dramatic monologue,
pressed every emotional and psychological button in
Billy Strayhorn’s 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.
I’ve never heard so much bitter juice extracted from
lyrics that contain several pitchers of extra-dry

Annie Ross is performing on Tuesdays at the
Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, Flatiron
district; (212) 206-0440.

Correction: March 17, 2007

A review yesterday of Annie Ross, who is singing at
the Metropolitan Room on Tuesday evenings, misstated
the club’s telephone number. It is (212) 206-0440.


Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com

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