Cabaret Scenes - July/August 2009
Birdland, NYC, May 29, 2009
Cooking in the backyard is great, but one holiday weekend in Birdland, Carol Fredette was cookin' with a red-hot rhythm trio including pianist Andy Ezrin, bassist David Finck and drummer Adam Nussbaum.
Always inventive, Fredette displayed her vibrant tableau of Brazilian, rhythm, witty and emotional favorites. From a spirited samba opener, "Without Rhyme or Reason" to the sensuous "Vivo Sohando" to the outstanding phrasing of "I Was Born in Love with You," her diversity is obvious. Physically and vocally expressive, her deliveries are intense, intimate and communicative. Her tonal range and variety are impressive, sometimes playful, as with the Portuguese quacking in "O Pato" (The Duck). "Can't We Be Friends" took a sarcastic turn, supported by Finck's bass. No wallowing, and no, they can't be friends.
She saved her pain for "Last Night When We Were Young," convincing and beautifully nuanced. It is one of those songs where Arlen's complex melody feels predestined for Harburg's rueful lyric.
With special guest, singer/songwriter Bob Dorough, Fredette took the chance for some hip show-off smarts in the quirky Frishberg/Dorough tune, "Never in a Single Day" and the youthful jubilance of "Devil May Care."
Listening to Fredette's infectious swing and sophisticated interpretations, that's delicious on any holiday.
Link to Original Review
Jersey Jazz, "Caught In the Act" - September 2010
The Iridium, New York City, June 30, 2010
On June 30, Carol Fredette was right at the peak of her considerable performing powers at The Iridium, as she swung through an 11-song first set backed by Andy Ezrin on piano, David Finck on bass and Jim Saporito on drums.
"All or Nothing at All" is a perfect opener for Fredette, as she is an "all" type of singer. She swings with a hipness rarely seen in these times, and then can absolutely milk the emotional depths of a ballad as she did on her next selection, "The Way You Look Tonight."
Verses to pop songs are too often ignored, with some so obscure that even those of us who have heard a fair share of them can be surprised. Fredette did this when she opened "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me," with a verse that had me wondering, until the chorus started, what song she was singing. The overall result was an affectionate reading of this Harry Warren/Al Dubin standard.
"If I Were a Bell" found Fredette and the band swinging freely like a group of wind driven bells in a storm, with each of the musicians given ample room to stretch out. Once again, Fredette transitioned effectively fron the hard-swinging tempo of "If I Were a Bell" to a simply lovely take on "I've Got a Feeling I've Been Here Before," a too rarely heard gem with music by Roger Kellaway and lyrics by the Bergmans.
A set by Fredette almost always includes some Jobim tunes, and this was no exception. She performed "Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer)," "Chovendo Na Roseira (Double Rainbow)," and "Desifinado (Off Key)," all three selections with English lyrics by Gene Lees. On the second of the three, Ezrin's piano had the feeling of the rain mentioned in Lee's atmospheric lyrics. Fredette sang both the Portuguese and English lyrics for these songs. She gave "Desifinado" a coy reading, with a surprisingly whimsical ending.
Among the enthusiastic audience was the composer of "I've Got Just About Everything," Bob Dorough, and he seemed throughly taken with the bouncy approach to this song chosen by Fredette. This song pretty much summed up the way Fredette handled all of her material, for she can sing just about everything that comes along.
Stephen Sondheim is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, and Fredette acknowledged this prior to her pensive introspective reading of "Anyone Can Whistle." It felt just right when Fredette concluded her set with an up tempo "Old Devil Moon," providing a perfect exclamation point for a great set by one of the few true jazz singers on the scene today.