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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Terese Genecco Is Swingin' on the Moon, Babies!

Terese Genecco may not yet be a household name, but she may well become one soon. Genecco (pronounced Jen-eh-ko) is the new k.d. lang, possessing a beautiful, belting, crystal-clear voice and an image that transcends gender stereotyping. In her rat-pack suit; open shirt with untied bowtie hanging around her neck; short, spiked black hair and intense eye make-up, she is a finger-snapping, swingingly kinetic entertainer who brings such incredible energy and verve to the stage, it will infect any audience.

Her "Little Big Band" is also divine, and she is their bandleader and crooner. My friend, Kevin Scott Hall, wrote in his Edge cabaret column: "If the powers that be think there are no new big stars to be found, they aren't looking hard enough.... This kind of comet doesn't pass our way nearly enough."

I went to see Terese at Iridium, upon Kevin's recommendation, where she will be playing through the end of the year. It's loungey; it's nostalgic; it's camp with a straight face; it's delightful, delicious and de-groovy!

Terese and Band have just released their second album. It's dreamy. Many of the songs from her Tuesday 8 pm set at Iridium, thankfully, appear on "Live from the Iridium NYC." (Iridium is located on Broadway, in the theater district, next door to the Winter Garden.)

I swooned to "A Lot of Livin' to Do" (from Bye, Bye, Birdie), the album's opener. Two of my favorite songs, from the set that I experienced live, are on Genecco's sophomore cd effort: "Washington Square" (originally performed by the legendary Marilyn Maye) and the cool, swingin' "Swingin' on the Moon," a cover of the Mel Torme song. (And what could be more far-out than that?)

A number that's not on this album was Steve Allen's eternally hep "This Could Be the Start of Something." I've always had a jones for this tune and Terese put it across fiercely at her Iridium gig.

Terese finally blew me away, in concert, by singing while drumming during her finale! (I thought that was the first time I ever heard a female lead-vocalist drum at the same time, but Kevin reminded me that Karen Carpenter has done it, too.)

The Little Big Band: Barry Levitt on piano, Tom Hubbard on bass, Ray Marchica on drums, Sean Harkness on guitar and Mayra Consales on percussion (bongos). The hard-working horn section was phenomenal: Cliff Lyons (sax), Doug Beavers (trombone) and Tony Lavender (trumpet and serious eye candy). These guys blew hard and well.
(Image of Genecco & her original SF band.)

Terese and Band had marvelous rapport and the joy they were obviously having onstage infiltrated us as we watched. It went down to the soul very nicely, like a tonic.

The singer/swinger also generously dueted during her set. Young Nicolas King was exceptional. Robert Hicks' style was perfect for this sort of music but did not rise properly above the blaring wall-of-sound intensity of the horn section. Terese generously allowed Shaynee Rainbolt a solo spot,
then swiftly returned to diva mode to continue her act.

Even the rendition of "Frankie & Johnny," the folk song that's been covered to death forever, showed new life (in both the show and on the album).

Order Terese Genecco's cds on Amazon.com (downloads also available), CD Universe and CD Baby. "Live at Iridium" cd on Bug Out Music. Genecco's swingin' on the moon; she could be swingin' on a star.

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