Day One of the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s 33rd Annual Cabaret Convention
By Marilyn Lester . . .
Every autumn, there’s a much-anticipated event in the worlds of cabaret, popular song and jazz—the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention. This 33rd edition—Look To The Rainbow: The Songs of Yip Harburg—was the proverbial breath of fresh air following several years affected by the COVID pandemic.
The evening began with the strength of Clearly Now (Sean Harkness, Marcus Simeone, Lina Koutrakos) with a rich jazz arrangement of “Over The Rainbow” (music by Harold Arlen). The house band, pianist Jon Weber, bassist Steve Doyle and drummer Dan Gross, were joined by Danny Bacher on soprano sax. With their polished harmonies, Clearly Now raised the energy of Rose Hall to a level that portended great entertainment to come—and that it did; by the end of this Harburgian feast, spirits were high, especially in anticipation of nights two and three to follow. In the polished and delightful harmony department, Those Girls (Eve Eaton, Wendy Russel, Karen Mack, Rachel Hanser), with Steven Ray Watkins at the piano, sang a deliciously fun “The Begat” (music by Burton Lane).