In the cultural reshaping of Canada’s fastest growing city Calgary, Alberta the Beat Niq jazz club on January 20th once again proved to be key player in that cultural evolution. World-class jazz singer Adi Braun from Toronto took to the stage and performed two sets consisting of original compositions, standards and tunes featuring some Canadian songwriters.
Braun’s curly auburn hair barely touched the shoulders of her long black and teal evening gown and a butterfly pendant hung from a silver chain around her neck. She worked the Beat Niq’s intimate stage as though it were an old friend. At several junctures during her performance, the appreciative audience broke into spontaneous applause.
Braun opened her first set with Richard Rogers’ "The Lady Is A Tramp". She then paid tribute to Doris Day and Lena Horne women to whom she referred as having possessed an understated sex appeal. Her nod to the stars from yesteryear came in the form of "Perhaps" and "Love Me Or Leave Me". She introduced the later song by demonstrating her fine scatting ability before diving into a sultry vocal performance. Bassist Simon Fisk also figured into the piece prominently with a solid solo.
The singer proved her versatility as an artist moving easily between the moody "Rules Of The Game" (from the CD of the same name) to the cabaret lilt of "Frim Fram Sauce". Drummer John May used a muted tone hand percussion to accompany Braun as she sung "Frim Fram Sauce".
Braun is much more than a chanteuse she is a complete entertainer. Braun completely immerses herself in the personality, colors and context of the beautiful phrases she interprets. Pianist Sheldon Zandboer provides equally sensitive chops. Zandboer a native Calgarian and regular performer at the Beat Niq should be in a much larger market to receive the notoriety that he deserves.
Braun had fun with Fats Waller’s "Honeysuckle Rose" by substituting the words, "Honey suck my toes". She once again demonstrated her prowess with scat.
The singer unveiled her reading of Canadian songwriter Shirley Eikhard’s "If We Had Never Met". The beautiful love ballad from Braun’s CD Rules Of The Game may have been her best performance of the evening. Eikhard’s song is full of romantic phrases such as "who would make me laugh if we had never met". Eikhard was the songwriter behind Bonnie Raitt’s "Something To Talk About".
Braun’s second set featured standards such as Cy Coleman’s "Witchcraft", a nod to Duke Ellington’s "I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good" and "Old Devil Moon".