|Janis Siegel at the Side Door|
A relatively new jazz club has quietly carved a place out for itself in the otherwise shrinking world of jazz music venues. The Side Door Jazz Club is located a stone’s throw from Interstate 95 off exit 70 at 85 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, CT. It is part of the Old Lyme Inn, a beautifully restored bed, breakfast and restaurant that was originally built as a family homestead in 1856.
Left in relative disrepair, the Inn was purchased and renovated by Owners Ken and Chris Kitchings in 2011. Ken, a lifelong jazz fan who had been previously involved bringing artists to the Garde Theater in New London, CT., decided that an unused “side door” space would be the perfect spot for a jazz club. Seeing his vision through, the Side Door Jazz Club was opened in May of 2013. Since then Ken and his booking manager Jan Mullen have brought some amazing top-tier talent to their strategically located club along the Connecticut shoreline. It surely doesn't hurt that the club is almost equidistant for musicians who are traveling along the Boston to New York corridor, two major jazz hubs. The the club is comfortable and well appointed, the vibe is welcoming with reasonable acoustics and a generous stage and Ken’s exuberance is infectious. I don’t doubt that many performers find the venue a welcome respite.
On Friday night January 10, 2014 Janis Siegel played two sets of music, much of it from her latest album Nightsongs: A Late Night Interlude, her tenth solo release. Janis’s emotive voice, somewhere between a mezzo-soprano and a contaltro, has been heard for the last thirty-two years as the part of the Grammy Award winning group Manhattan Transfer. Her recent cd is her first self-produced album and is a great collaboration with the pianist/arranger John diMartino, a first call artist who has great sensitivity working with vocalists. The songs include selections include Billy Strayhorn “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing,” Rogers & Hart's “Lover,” Brenda Russell, Will Kennedy and Russell Ferrante’s “Love and Paris Rain” along with a song penned by Bob Belden with lyrics by Siegel herself “Sweet September Rain.”
On this evening, during the first set, she was joined by her pianist/arranger diMartino and the bass player, the talented Boris Kozlov, who also is part of the pianist's working trio.
The set started off with Ms. Siegel, a Brooklyn born chanteuse, appropriately singing the campy Lorraine Feather song “I Know the Way to Brooklyn.” The song initiated the crowd to brief but potent solos by both Mr. di Martino and Mr. Kozlov. Ms. Siegel can navigate through multiple genre’s, from cabaret to bossa to torch to scat with ease and agility, and on Friday night before a receptive crowd she did just that.
Before the start of the second song, Ms. Siegel introduced the Brazilian percussionist/vocalist Nanny Assis, who joined her and the band for most of the first set. Mr. Assis, originally from Bahia, Brazil and now a CT native, can make a panderio ( a small, round-shaped hand drum with jingles native to Brazil) sound like a full drum kit. His presence lent the proceedings a genuine rhythmic element that was infectious.
|John di MArtino, Boris Kozlov, Janis Siegel and Nanny Assis|