A true party in every sense of the world, Birdland hits one out of the park each Sunday night at 6:00. With Musical Director/guitarist John Hart and lead singer Cyrille Aimee, each week presents a different vocal guest to liven up the already sparkling evening.
It is hard to find a jazz singer today that can please both traditional tastes and the more adventurous of us, but Aimee fits the bill. Her voice, a smoky delicate instrument, literally scales the heights with her ambitious, yet melodic flights into instrumental quality, jazz vocalizing.
Following a generous band ensemble piece, Aimee started off her set with a simple French number, "Je Suis Seule Ce Soir." That accomplished, she continued on with a swinging "Foggy Day In London Town," a smooth "Dindi" and an adventurous "Detour Ahead." Many of the pieces had extended scat solos and her "Well You Needn't" (Monk) was living Be-Bop. A lovely and exciting singer, she did not present any wrist-slashing ballads, but it was a "party."
In perfect contrast was her guest singer, Linda Ciofalo. The sultry voiced Ciofalo, with a sound like spun cotton candy and a soulful vibe, contributed three numbers, a standout being "My One and Only Love." Linda took the song to a romantic pinnacle, shimmerlingly spinning out each lyric, as if important as the music. She swung "I Didn't Know What Time it Was" and offered a jaunty "La Isla Bonita" ala Madonna.
The singers were fortunate to be working with some of the most accomplished musicians in the business, featuring John Hart. His guitar is smooth, yet strong, intricate yet accessible. His time and phrasing moved the audience to cat-call following his many generous solos. He was joined by the creative and articulate Jon Davis on piano, the strongly nimble Paul Gill on bass and the tightly rhythmic Aaron Kimmel on drums. Everyone was featured to their full advantage and the evening flew by.