I first saw Pamela Luss perform at the legendary Birdland a little over a month ago, after hearing all about her from friends Susan Shin and Nick Dietz of Shin Advisors LLC. Since then Pamela has become one of my newest gal pals.
So, when she invited me to come see her performance at Enzo's (a much more intimate setting than Birdland) I was all in! Despite the grueling schedule of creating my Spring '09 collection and producing my Fall '08 store orders, I knew this was a night out I couldn't miss. After all, here was an opportunity to hear songs from her magnificent new album "Magnet", and also to see her in a much more lounge-like venue. In fact, Enzo's Jazz Club, which is located in the Jolly Hotel Madison Towers on 38th and Madison, is perhaps one of the most intimate, exciting, elegant and unforgiving venues I have ever attended.
The lights are kept on throughout the performance, there is no stage on which to seperate the performer from the audience, and the bartender does not seem the least bit interested in the fact that his rattling ice is somewhat distracting. Oddly enough, I think Enzo Capua (the namesake of the joint) wants it that way. Afterall, he is somewhat of a legend himself in the jazz world. And his goal with Enzo's is to bring today's top jazz artists into the type of venue they have long since outgrown. This amazing concept for a jazz lounge gives music lovers a chance to see their favorites up close and personal.
So, I grabbed my old friend Jill Berry and headed to the Jolly Madison Hotel. Enzo's feels like a secret little gem in the city. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle in a very unsuspecting part of Manhattan. 38th and Madison for us Westsiders is the totally exotic and unknown. I felt a bit like Indiana Jones and the lost Jazz lounge.
We were greeted by the diva herself! Pamela was hanging outside the lounge waiting to begin. We kissed cheeks, had a big hug and overly complimented each other on our appearance. Although, Pamela if you're reading this, you do look amazing! We ran inside and grabbed the last two seats in the house. They just so happened to be at the bar with the noisy bartender himself. Enzo, gave a lovely introduction and then the show almost began. Technical difficulties delayed the show, but increased the anticipation.
Amazingly, this did not seem to phase her one bit. You know someone is truly a pro when they can take a tecnical malfuntion and turn it into an opporutnity to get to know her audience. Props to her for that!! Finally, Pamela began, and it is clear that she shines no matter what the circumstances. It's one thing to see a performer when they are surrounded by the bells and whistles of a venue like Birdland. However, when you strip all of that away, and it's just you, the band, and a quaint speaker system, you'd better be damn sure you have what it takes. And folks, I'm here to tell you, the lady has what it takes in spades!
She has a talent that can't be denied. Her voice is soft and seductive. She doesn't miss a beat. It seemed clear we all felt right at home because of her down to earth vibe. Pamela's interpertations on some of the greatest jazz classics are fantastic!
Songs like "I've Never Been in Love Before" by Frank Loesser, "Bewitched" by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, and my personal favorite: "Get Here" by Brenda Russell. As I've said before, I'm no Jazz expert, but I know what I like...and I like me some Pamela Luss!! Plus, I also loved the band! Her piano man - John DiMartino, saxophonist- Mark Vinci, bass player- Chris Higgins and drummer- Eric Halvorson, were all extraordinary. I have to tell you that those boys can play!
For those of you who want to experience the lady for yourself (which I highly recommend), go to her website and check out her schedule. Or you can buy any of her albums on itunes.
Ok...I could honestly go on and on, but I MUST get back to my day job. Someone has to make the doughnuts.