Kate McGarry at Night Town (2007)

Night Town in Cleveland Heights

31 May 2007

It was another enjoyable night of jazz vocals at Nighttown as New York based Kate McGarry, accompanied by her talented husband Keith Genz on guitar, did a very good job of delivering two solid sets of both the familiar and unfamiliar.

She did a little Jerome Kern, some Cole Porter, and a few familiar Broadway standards. She did a couple of acoustic blues tunes, and some lost gems you usually don’t hear, like opening with Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning.” Keith Genz’s guitar was a fine back up, and almost gave the chords a piano like sound. Her voice has a touch of both Ella Fitzgerald and Rickie Lee Jones, and was quite suited to the selections she performed. Her own original music sounded fresh, especially “A New Love Song” which turned into a duet between her vocals and her husband’s guitar work.

I hope she returns to Nighttown, and maybe with a few more pieces behind her next time. I really like her style, and it just wasn’t the best night for her to be here. Nighttown is a great place, one of our area’s true treasures and landmarks. It is many things, including a great neighborhood bar, a nationally recognized jazz club, and a top shelf restaurant. No argument on any of that. And most nights, because of the great staff the place runs pretty smoothly, and all of its different identities run parallel to each other. But last Monday they bumped up next to each other a bit. There was a couple of loud large parties in the restaurant and patio celebrating special occasions, and the Cavs/Pistons playoff game, which went down to the wire, on TV in the bar. With all of that going on, McGarry’s voice and Genz’s guitar at times got slightly pushed in to the background. Also, Maria Muldair was playing the next night, which kept away some of the regular jazz crowd. But for only ten bucks it was still a fine show, and Kate McGarry is a pro, and did a fine job entertaining the crowd that did come to hear her.

Nighttown has some great stuff coming up, including two of the icons from that wonderful time when jazz and progressive rock crossed paths in the 70’s. Violinist Jean Luc Ponty is there in June 3, and organist Brian Auger returns for two nights on June 8 and 9. I saw Auger’s last show at Nighttown and it was terrific. I highly recommend both acts, especially for those of you who have never been to Nighttown. For more information or directions go to www.nighttowncleveland.com.

And speaking of icons, local legend Ernie Krivda brings his Fat Tuesday Big Band in for a show on June 5.