Adi Braun ~ Live at the Metropolitan Room

Blue Rider Records, 2007

May/June - 50th Golden Anniversary Issue - 2008
Geoff Chapman

Classically-trained Adi Braun forsook opera to become a superior song-salesperson whose jazz outings are always must-hear occasions. In the past she's defined her singing niche as 'cabarazz,' which tells a listener to expect drama, confidence, a big range, stage presence and a whiff of frivolity. You get all this and more on her third album, a sparkling follow to the albums The Rules Of The Game and Delishious, in a show she dubbed 'Heart to Heart' recorded at a New York club in October.

Braun has that knack of quickly establishing intimacy and making the music personal, though most songs of the 14 here are Broadway or jazz standards. That three of the first four cuts have the word 'old' in the title will likely remain a mystery, but two get vigorous workouts, notably "That Old Devil Moon" with a scat solo, followed by a bewitching, powerful slow take on the rare "That Ole Devil Called Love." 

With seriously empathetic support from pianist Tedd Firth and bassist Steve Watson, she's not afraid to toy with time as demonstrated on a frisky "Love Me Or Leave Me" and an upbeat "Honeysuckle Rose." Add an off-planet onslaught on "Miss Celie's Blues," an art song examination of "Besame Mucho," an alteration of "You Do Something To Me" from a confessional into cheerful celebration and a pair of her own creations: the almost surreal "Grace" and "Ocean Eyes" (the latter taped with Toronto sidemen), and you get a release that will please fans of both jazz and cabaret. The sound is somewhat raw, but that may be due to stereo rather than multi-track recording.