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Saturday, 22 June 2013 22:36

Concert review: St. Lou Fringe - Sultry jazz with Christy Strickland and the Randy Holmes Quartet at Satori Thursday through Sunday, June 20-23

Concert review: St. Lou Fringe - Sultry jazz with Christy Strickland and the Randy Holmes Quartet at Satori Thursday through Sunday, June 20-23 stlfringe.com
Written by Chuck Lavazzi
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You’d think the St. Lou Fringe Festival would be fertile ground for a cabaret act. The venues are small, the shows are required to be under an hour, and you need to be able to pack up and move your act quickly. It all seems ideally suited to the cabaret format, and yet to the best of my knowledge the closest thing to a cabaret performance this weekend is Christy Strickland’s entertaining “Live at Satori” show.

And even that isn’t very close. Ms. Strickland’s show isn’t so much cabaret as it is a jazz concert of the sort you might see at the Bistro. With more patter and some sort of dramatic structure it could certainly become cabaret show some day. As it stands, though, it’s a nicely paced and informal hour of Great American Songbook standards with a couple of bluesy numbers (the Nina Simone classic “I Want Some Sugar in My Bowl,” for example) thrown in for good measure.

Ms. Strickland has a smoky, sultry, supple voice that’s ideally suited to the freewheeling, jazzy arrangements she performs here with the Randy Holmes Quartet. Her rapport with the band was good when I saw her show, so even when things got a little off track, they got back on quickly. She also established the connection with the audience quickly and kept it—another cabaret essential.

Trumpeter and band leader Holmes got in a number of great solo licks during the evening, and everyone had a chance to show off in the oddly upbeat version of "Lover, Come Back to Me" that ended the set. The band members are: Kevin Gianino on percussion, Dave Troncoso (a name that shows up often paired with cabaret artists in town) on bass, and noted local jazzman Kim Portnoy on keyboard. Nice work, gents.

As I’m writing this, you have one more chance to catch this little bit of the Bistro and the Fringe Sunday (June 23) at 9:00 at Satori, 3003 Locust. If you’re a lover of jazz and the classic songs of Porter, Gershwin, Jule Styne, and Rodgers and Hart, you won’t want to miss it. For more information: stlfringe.com.

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