On Sunday evening, March 9, the wind blew music lovers through the West Village and down the stairs of Cornelia St. Cafe. Deborah Latz and her trio performed there in their inky basement club, an intimate space where colored lights hang from the ceiling. Deborah's voice shone among the spare accompaniment, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere from her first moment on stage. The trio, composed of Dario Buente on piano and Ray Parker on bass was seamless throughout the performance.
The set opened with a Gershwin tune, 'S'Wonderful', pared down from her recording on her most recent album, Fig Tree. Deborah’s interpretation was fresh and unique without losing the original structure of the song. Her enormous vocal control and flexibility made the tunes come alive. She made use of all aspects of her voice, from traditional song through animal sounds, sighs, throaty moments, hums and scat. Not just song, not just music, but art.
Deborah is a truly warm and funny lady, welcoming us after her first number, “You're welcome to purchase my albums when you pass the bar tonight....everytime you pass the bar tonight”. Halfway through her set, she took a break to wish her husband, Don a happy birthday, breaking into 'The Don Flagg Song'. “I may win a Grammy for that one”, she quipped, “I'll let you know, check my website”. When you are at Deborah's show, you are a friend, invited into an intimate experience.
One of the most beautiful moments was her performance of a more modern jazz piece, Abbey Lincoln's 'Throw it Away'. Deborah sang this song with the passion of knowing pain and triumph. It was her song. Deborah is intensely connected to her music, weather singing a playful samba or a soulful ballad.
Ray Parker especially shone during the Berlin ballad 'Blue Skies', playing a haunting ostinato introduction and keeping the audience entranced with this smoky interpretation of an old classic. Dario Buente had a great stage presence and chemistry with Deborah, shining especially in his brighter soli moments on Deborah's own 'Jump In' off her Lifeline album, and in 'É Luxo Só', a joyous Bossa Nova. During É Luxo Só, Deborah took the audience away to a Brazilian summer night where beautiful people danced, caipirinhas in hand.
Deborah's vocal control and flexibility is not just on display for itself. Her voice is her instrument. Deborah is not just a singer. She is a true performer. Spend an hour or two at a performance or listening to her albums and be taken away.