Sara Gazarek delivered an eclectic mix of her best known recorded arrangements and adventurous new music tonight at Mr. Musichead. The two time Grammy nominee, fresh off a European tour, employed an emotional intensity to push her upper register to the limit time and again. There were moments of quiet contemplation as well. She confessed to a case of nerves regarding the performance of her newly composed original music to the Tennessee Williams poem "We Have Not Long to Love," then delivered it with a heartfelt plaintiveness. "Tea for Two," complete with the verse, had a playful sweetness. She closed with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," using her dynamic range to breathe new life into the often heard anthem. The fact that Sara Gazarek continues to evolve is a testament to her work ethic and talent. "It's a journey," she told me after the performance. Not every artist has the courage to take that journey. The dividends for Gazarek are paying off.
Miro Sprague, piano, Karl McComas Reichl, bass, Mark Ferber, drums and Daniel Rotem on tenor sax supported her every step of the way.
LeRoy Downs continues to display his programming chops in a most interesting space. Check out "Just Jazz" every Wednesday night at Mr. Musichead.