Stylish vocals from McBroom…
San Francisco Examiner – Tuesday, March 9, 1999
Stylish vocals from McBroom…She mixes own storylike lyrics with top-notch pop…by Philip Elwood (Examiner music critic)
Although Amanda McBroom has been categorized as a cabaret singer for many years, I’ve always considered her more of a sophisticated singing-songwriter of the type who, in earlier eras, would have comfortably fit into the world of upscale, chic supper clubs.
McBroom concludes her current Plush Room engagement this week, Wednesday through Sunday. Her 75 minute program, about evenly split between her old favorite originals (such as “The Rose” and “Errol Flynn”) and new material, both hers and that of others like Craig Carnelia, Hoagy Carmichael and Jerome Kern.
In the manner of most of today’s crop of singing-songwriters, McBroom’s usually poetic lyric lines are set more into rhythmic, rather than melodic, formats. And those lyrics do not conform to the traditional American popular song structures. Rather, they are delivered in short stanzas, creating a storyline which infrequently repeats. She sings “You Wouldn’t Want To See Me” (“In the Morning,” “After Midnight,” and so forth) in good humor, following with Rupert Holmes’ “People That You Never Get to Love.”
McBroom also likes to dig into pop songs that have interesting twists. Her somewhat torchy version of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Baltimore Oriole,” and distinctive rendition of Rogers & Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” blend nicely into a mix that also includes her own, clever, “Round.” A neatly structured medley of Irving Berlin’s “The Way You Look Tonight,’ Carnelia’s typically poignant and forlorn “Break Up Song” and another McBroom original “Dance.”
Her encore includes a beautiful version of the classic “All the Things You Are,” blending in “Out of My Dreams” in a logical, memorable manner.
In no way does it diminish the effectiveness of either McBroom’s songs or often witty commentary to note that the work of her musical director-pianist (and singer) Joel Silberman is consistently scintillating. In his solo spot on the show, he gives “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” which he both plays and sings, a wonderfully joyous ride.