Review of Metro Jazz @ The Metropolitan Room

By: Edie Stokes

What a truly unique show I saw at theMetropolitan Room recently called Metro-Jazz with Sunny Leigh. It stood out from other cabaret shows, as it was an interesting combination of older standard jazz tunes and new, original pieces by the songwriting duo of Barry Levitt and Sunny Leigh.

The show’s opener was their original, “Superhero Girl,” which Sunny used to her advantage with her energetic entrance. Following was a fast-paced jazz arrangement of “It Might as Well Be Spring,” by Rogers and Hammerstein, sung in an upbeat style by Ms Leigh, backed by her amazing trio, Musical Director, Barry Levitt on piano, David Finck on bass and Chris Parker on drums.

My favorite song in the collection was the original “Be All Right.” The music was beautifully haunting and expressively sung by Ms Leigh. I found myself humming it after the show. “Inspiration” was another moving piece that the audience seemed to enjoy.

The classic songs, “Look to the Rainbow”/ “Look for the Silver Lining,” by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg and Jerome Kern and B.G. DeSylva, respectively, were right-on rhythmic, with a spirited rendition by the Maestro, Barry Levitt, and good phrasing by the songstress.

Sunny introduced the “Little Boy Toy,” an original, by saying that men never grow up. It was a zingy tune with clever lyrics. This amusing song was ‘catchy’ enough to become a possible hit. In contrast, was a delightful original song, sung in Spanish, “Sueno Dulce” or “Sweet Dream.”  Ms. Leigh seemed very comfortable singing in another language and conveyed believable passion.

Continuing the lilting older song classics was “Love Me or Leave Me” by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn. Only a group of such highly talented artists could have made this old standard into a masterpiece, which it was. The audience was rocking leading into “Little Bird,” by Annie Lennox, another winner, with its original bass solo by David Finck and the drummer creating interpretive sounds; unusual arrangements, yet still maintaining the core of the piece.

I think the audience related well to the lyrics of “This Can’t Go On” and “Don’t Give Up,” another well-written song, seemed to be an anthem to hope, as the title suggests. I was told the composers had tried various musical treatments and found it worked best as a jazz, swing tune.

I felt the show could profit by some dialogue between Leigh and Levitt about their original songs, creating more intimacy with the audience.

The audience was enthusiastically appreciative of the swinging rhythms and the original music of Sunny’s Metro-Jazz show, in her successful debut at the lovely Metropolitan Room.

If you want to see it again she's having pre-fireworks w/ cake and sparklers Tuesday July 3rd 7PM

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