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Amanda King: Press

"... she has a deliciously supple voice, capable of gliding easily from a thrumming, oaky and often sultry lower register to a delicately melodic upper tier ... there's no question Amanda King is a singer worth watching and, more important, worth hearing." Full review...

David Wiegand - San Francisco Chronicle

"Stately grandeur and youthful intensity: the annual New York Cabaret Convention at the Rose Theater has never lacked for great ladies and refined gentlemen. But as for youth (performers under 50), it has always struggled to forge a credible connection between a nightclub tradition nearly done in by rock ’n’ roll and television and the idea of a future. This year was different. All it takes to demonstrate that somehow or other the tradition goes on is a couple of exceptional rising talents. And at the convention’s opening-night gala on Thursday, two singers — T. Oliver Reid and Amanda King — leapt out from the pack."  Full review...

Stephen Holden - New York Times

In a show separated into solo portions, with duets midway and to close, Amanda King and T. Oliver Reid present a roster of American Songbook selections including cabaret, pop, show tunes and jazz.

Reid’s set offers bouncy, “Rat Pack” arrangements, a number from Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, and renditions of “How Long Has This Been Going On?” (George and Ira Gershwin) and “This Can’t Be Love” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) smoothly vocalized...

King’s set—but for the mischievously sung “Midnight Swinger” (Hank Jones) and Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale”—is iconic jazz by the likes of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Billy Strayhorn. She’s got a big, rich, slightly smoky voice with as much talent for jazz and soul as swing. Long-searching arcs and sighing overtones seem effortless, as does the precision with which she improvises around a tune. Her stage persona is warm and packed with gusto.

King and Reid sing together with affection and a sense of play. “Satin Doll” (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn/Johnny Mercer) is cool and breezy. Their version of “Diga Diga Doo” (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) is sheer piquant riffing fun, its fine arrangement, by pianist Daryl Kojak, an equal participant. “Love Is Here to Stay” (George and Ira Gershwin) sails brightly into the room on winsome vocal overlays.

Alix Cohen
Cabaret Scenes
October 23, 2011

Amanda King, the Princess of Swing, exceeds the legends at Rrazz. Photo by Lois Tema

Sometimes it just takes One person to put an idea into motion or to give voice to some swinging music. This issue, we have more than one One.

One Voice
: What becomes a legend most? This past Monday, May 9, that question left me scratching my head, as the advertised legends accompanying a rising vocal talent didn’t rise to the level of said ascending vocalist. SF Legends, the second in Amanda King’s The Swing of Things series at the Rrazz Room, had audiences perplexed at times as well. Throughout, however, King’s vocals were a steady, shining light, giving audiences a taste as to why Amanda King is the Princess of Swing & one of the finest jazz singers performing today. 

From the first offering, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” an all-instrumental piece, pianist Bill Bell seemed a wee-bit lost, unsure as to the genre & how to bring all the instrumentalists to the same table to play as a unified force. As well, Bell was lost in the audio mix: during his solo, the drums were more present, making an already lackluster piano riff drift away as an afterthought. By the time reeds player Noel Jewkes, bassist Jeff Chambers, & drummer Eddie Marshall joined in, it was as if each was playing a piece from a different arrangement of the same tune: no cohesion or connectivity. 

King joined the mix for the next tune, bringing verve & consistency to the proceedings. Her rendition of “Cherokee” alchemically pulled the instrumental quartet together, swinging the tune with style. King’s voice was well placed, focused & controlled throughout. Magical. Towards the end of the tune, Jewkes’ reed playing began making some noticeable squawking, something that should have been taken care of prior to stage time (a “Reeds 101” issue). At the very least, he should have considered adjusting it at the end of the tune. He didn’t. It became an issue throughout the evening. 

“But Not for Me” had an unusual conundrum: the pieces to the Gershwin tune were all there, but never locked into place. King’s vocals were assured, rich expressive. And, for the first of a number of times throughout the evening, the audience didn’t respond to the instrumental solos, as though suddenly confused or unsure if they should or, possibly, in the case of the piano solo, it lacked polish, finesse. This became a significant problem during “Green Dolphin Street” as well. King’s voice shimmered through this semi-tropical wonderland, and Jewkes’ sax was enchanting; yet Bell’s piano unraveled the dramatic tension of the song, deflating it in a way akin to watching a souflee slowly collapse. 

When it came time for “Sway,” I was taken back. Bell’s attack at the top of the song was completely without energy or dynamics, as though imploding upon himself. The tune was nearly unrecognizable; had I not had the set list I wouldn’t have recognized it, until King’s delicious singing gave rise to the tune. Bell’s rudimentary approach seemed completely counter to the tune’s sultry nature. 

“Night in Tunisia” is not a simple tune by any means, yet King made it zing, continuing to rise above. But her musicians never seemed to come to the level that would have pushed her to a new performance high. A lack of cohesion & consistency plagued the instrumental accompaniment. At times the piano drifted beyond Tunisia, then snapped back spot-on. And squeaking reeds gave way to inspired riffs. 

King created a medley of “Sophisticated Ladies”/ ”Round Midnight”/ ”Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” that benefited greatly from the lush expressiveness of her voice. Her richly-rendered tones seemed to slide under the lyric and wrap around the melody, while securely comforting the heart of the experience of the medley… aural alchemy. Construction-wise, it needed a wee-bit more finessing, yet it beautifully showcased King’s exceptional instrument. 

Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” was the revelation of the evening. This was the experience I was hoping the entire evening would be, each artist bringing something dynamic & special to the game, elevating each other throughout. King’s expressive intonations showed a mastery of control as the quartet solidly assayed the landscape of this lovely, somewhat haunting tune. Superb. 

King is well on her way to becoming a legend. She is an artist well worth following. If there are any arts patrons out there looking to invest in a talent, King would be the artist to invest in. Her sensibility & her ability combine with a certain quality that defies capturing, yet is so inviting, comforting & desirable to listen to.

An interview with Amanda before the beginning of 'The Swing of Things' - her three-night performance at San Francisco's The Rrazz Room.

An Intimate Affair…A Man, a Woman, 
and the American Songbook

Thursday, October 27th, 2011
by Alix Cohen on Playing Around

 

Amanda King and T. Oliver Reid met a year ago and were drawn to each other’s vocal style.

An Intimate Affair is broken up into a solo set for each performer with duets bridging and closing the evening. It offers American Songbook selections including cabaret, pop, a show tune, and jazz.

T. Oliver Reid’s describes his set as “…love in a big city, or Boys Are Stupid.” “The Best is Yet to Come” (Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh) he begins hopefully. It’s a breezy, “Rat-Pack” arrangement. “Remember when you were 22?” he asks. “Let’s Fall in Love” (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” (George and Ira Gershwin) follow. Curiously neither song is sung with a smile, either vocally or facially. Lyrics seem at odds with the performance. We’re on a relationship path. “As Long as He Needs Me” (Lionel Bart from the show, Oliver) has appropriate gravitas. Reid is the only singer I know who can stage-whisper a trill.

Three love songs follow expressing surprise, insecurity and emotional dislocation. Presentation makes them feel similar. With funkier arrangements of “Ill Wind” (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler) and “Feeling Good” (Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse), Reid loosens up and engages the audience. He moves around the stage, plays with phrasing and acts more at home.

Amanda King is a big lady with a big beautiful, lush voice. She seems lit from within, warmth and vivacity pouring out of her as naturally as breathing. Soul, swing, and jazz numbers are offered with elegant simplicity whether pumped up or poured like syrup. Her arms move only when propelled by the necessity of expression. “Green Dolphin Street” (Bronislau Kaper/Ned Washington), “Sophisticated Lady” (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn with unearthed 1935 lyrics, not the original 1933 ones), and “Round Midnight” (Thelonious Monk/Bernie Hanighen) are among those classics all ably served. Phrases arch up and then down, circle, draw back and pause with control and finesse.

The lesser known “Midnight Swinger” (Hank Jones), introduced by a personal story, puts a twinkle in her eye and ironic spin in her tone. An up tempo, mambo rendition of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” lets her roll the word (love) around her tongue as if tasting it.

When King and Reid duet, they play off one another with great affection and looseness. “She’s wearing stilts,” he quips. “This is a work of art, right here, these 4-inch heels and this ass,” she retorts with a grin. “Satin Doll” (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn/Johnny Mercer), replete with ample “switcherooni,” is bouncy and flirty. A great arrangement of the “very silly” Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh song, “Diga Diga Doo” becomes open forum for infectious vocal and instrumental riffing. Closing with a cheery, animated, swinging version of “Love is Here to Stay” (George and Ira Gershwin), the two leave an audience feeling good.

"Amanda King once again proves she's a talented newcomer comfortable with her material... Her warm, deep alto grabs onto a lyric without overpowering it, combined with the ability to skip up to higher registers at ease."   Full Review...

Cabaret Scenes (2011)

"Listening and re-listening to the eleven cuts of Amanda King's Chanteuse, one is drawn to the singer's up-beat approach and lyrical line. King delivers whimsy in the soul and depth in the swing."   Full review...

Nuvo Newsweekly

"Amanda King has always been good – but now she has gone beyond good to ‘Absolutely Sparkling’. Her unique sound and uncanny ability to bring back the days of Anita O’Day, Mildred Bailey, Bea Wain and Blanche Calloway made this a very special musical trip indeed."  Full review...

BeyondChron.org (2010)

"She has that early Carmen McRae/Dinah Washington/Ella Fitzgerald smoothness and a natural subtlety."
Full review... 

Cabaret Scenes (2010)

Amanda King review: Singer delivers at Rrazz Room

The stakes had been raised exponentially by the time young Bay Area singer Amanda King took the stage at the Hotel Nikko's Rrazz Room on Monday night. That's because she'd recently blown away the audience and the New York Times' Stephen Holden at the Mabel Mercer Foundation's New York Cabaret Convention, which is pretty much the World Series of cabaret.

What King proved on Monday is that she has a deliciously supple voice, capable of gliding easily from a thrumming, oaky and often sultry lower register to a delicately melodic upper tier. Bits and pieces of her 90-minute show may have been uneven, and she wasn't always served well by her backup trio, but there's no question Amanda King is a singer worth watching and, more important, worth hearing.

Her Rrazz show was probably a little more high concept than it needed to be. "Forgotten Women, Lost Songs" celebrated music made famous by three women: Mildred Bailey, a great pal and influence on the young Bing Crosby (when he was still singing jazz and before all that bub-bub-bub stuff); Blanche Calloway, a pioneering singer and bandleader and the sister of Cab; and Bea Wain, who had a brief but hit-filled big-band career and is still alive.

On the plus side, it was interesting to learn about these women and to hear some of the more obscure songs associated with them, such as Calloway's sassy "What's a Poor Gal Gonna Do?" or "A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid," recorded by Bailey. On the minus side, the concept was occasionally a bit too confining. For every standout, such as the shattering "Black Moonlight," there was either a novelty number, like "No Soap, No Hope Blues," or a familiar standard, like Hoagy Carmichael's "Rocking Chair" done in a fairly unadventurous manner. At one point, King offered a mostly inspired mashup of two songs, "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "One Note Samba," which she termed "a medle" - one song short of a medley. The songs blended well, but were marred by a noisily intrusive drum solo by Surya Nur Patri, who seemed to think he was playing the Carnaval music from "Black Orpheus."

The trio, including Shota Osabe on piano and Chuck Bennett on bass, often seemed somewhat detached from King. There's a rule somewhere that every member of a backup group has to have a solo, but in the cases of both Bennett's and Nur Patri's offerings, the spotlight cutaways seemed more pro forma than integral to any real arrangement.

OK, now this is going to sound really unfair, but it must be said: When you listen to this group working with King, you can't help wondering what a Mike Greensill or a George Mesterhazy might do with this gifted young singer. Should you be a total stranger to the Bay Area cabaret world, they are the pianist-arrangers, respectively, for Wesla Whitfield and Paula West. Granted, you could probably hum through a kazoo and those two ladies would still blow the roof off the Rrazz Room (and have, many times, sans kazoo), but the point is that an arranger and backup group have to find that perfect sonic marriage with a singer. It's not just about playing the notes: It's about blending the instrumentation with the vocals in at least a seamless, if not creative, way.

One arrangement stood out as a wrong choice, and that was the jaunty take on Carmichael's paragon of plaintive longing, "Skylark." It was fun to listen to, up to a point, simply because King's voice is so compelling. But, at heart, it represented for this listener a disconnect from what the song is about. Yes, you can mess around with the tempo of any song, but, for my money, you still need to tell its story faithfully. "Skylark" is about yearning: Ramping it up like "The Trolley Song" didn't entirely work. The arrangement for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" was also clamorous and felt more as if it were meant to be performed at karaoke night at a strip club.

King is unquestionably an emerging star. Her instrument is both special and often irresistible. As she goes on to make her mark in the music world - and she is definitely doing that - she needs to connect consistently with the stories she is singing. When she did that on Monday night, she made believers of us all. I, for one, want to hear more.

The New York Times

October 8, 2010

Nightclub Tradition Gets a Jolt Of Youth

By STEPHEN HOLDEN

Stately grandeur and youthful intensity: the annual New York Cabaret Convention at the Rose Theater has never lacked for great ladies and refined gentlemen. But as for youth (performers under 50), it has always struggled to forge a credible connection between a nightclub tradition nearly done in by rock ’n’ roll and television and the idea of a future. This year was different. All it takes to demonstrate that somehow or other the tradition goes on is a couple of exceptional rising talents. And at the convention’s opening-night gala on Thursday, two singers — T. Oliver Reid and Amanda King — leapt out from the pack.

Mr. Reid, who has performed in Broadway ensembles for more than a decade, recently won the third annual Metrostar Talent Challenge at the Metropolitan Room. And he transformed the standards “Lucky to Be Me,” “Glad to Be Unhappy” and “Autumn in New York” into deeply personal reflections, his sweet falsetto distilling the yearning and uncertainty in that great Vernon Duke meditation on fall. Mr. Reid declared himself an admirer of Bobby Short, to whom he bears some vocal resemblance, although the wistfulness of his tone and the smoothness of his delivery were all his own.

Ms. King, a San Francisco singer making her New York debut, was almost as captivating. She delivered a pensive, understated “Lazy Afternoon” that displayed an impressive tonal control and the right air of dreamily sensuous hyper-awareness of nature in full bloom.

These singers threw into relief the dignified appearances of Angela LansburyMarian Seldes, Barbara Carroll and Marilyn Maye. Ms. Lansbury introduced Ms. Seldes who was presented with the convention’s first award of appreciation. Ms. Seldes recalled Donald Smith, the convention’s producer and mastermind, taking her to see its spiritual godmother, Mabel Mercer, at the St. Regis Hotel in the 1950s and being spellbound by Mercer’s perfect diction and the subtlety of feeling she lavished on each word.

Ms. Carroll, accompanied on bass by Jay Leonhart, played a pianistic Sondheim suite whose songs, connected by a recurring fragment of the “Night Waltz” from “A Little Night Music,” evoked a whirling dance of life. Its emotional turning points were her parlando renditions of “A Parade in Town” and “With So Little to Be Sure Of.”

Ms. Maye, who was given the Mabel Mercer Award, imparted an exuberant clout to a Jerry Herman medley (“The Best of Times” and “It’s Today!”), which was all the more moving coming from the voice of a woman in her 80s with inexhaustible stamina and joie de vivre. All in all, this was the convention’s strongest opening night in memory.

The New York Cabaret Convention continues on Saturday at the Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, (212) 721-6500, mabelmercer.org and jalc .org.

Amanda discusses music and her show 'The Swing of Things' with Sydnie Kohara, host of Bay Sunday on the local CBS affiliate in San Francisco. 

 

Bay Sunday TV Interview (May 15, 2011)

Album review: Amanda King, "Chanteuse" 

by Rita Kohn | October 13, 2009

Listening and re-listening to the eleven cuts of Amanda King's Chanteuse, one is drawn to the singer's up-beat approach and lyrical line. King delivers whimsy in the soul and depth in the swing. She’s not afraid to put her heart on her sleeve as on “Love for Sale” – knowing she might be revealing more than she wants to at this moment in her life. She equally speaks her mind as in the fast stepping “I’m One of God’s Children,” surprising with a pixie ending. And she’s daring, as with the shifting moods of the unusual love song, “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen.”

The mix of tempo, styles and degrees of introspection make this an intriguing collection that also includes the upbeat “Stop that Bass,” dreamy “Black Moonlight,” introspective “Makin’ Whoopie,” flirty “Night and Day,” shimmering “Lazy Afternoon,” in a hurry “Got A Lot of Livin’ To Do,” cozying up “What is This Thing Called Love,” and all out “One Note Samba.”

Yes, we expect vocal and lyric interpretive growth in succeeding albums, and more of the transformative power that comes across in her live performance, when King is at one with the audience and her band. King, who graced Indianapolis stages before moving to San Francisco and came back to the Walker for this year's Jazz Fest, now regularly plays clubs in the Bay area and is scheduled to make her debut at the Metropolitan Room in New York City in the Spring of 2010.

 

CABARET SCENES

Amanda King 

What's a Poor Girl to Do?

Rrazz Room
San Francisco, CA

 

Local newcomer Amanda King is heading to the Big Apple for gigs at the Cabaret Convention and the Metropolitan Room with her new endeavor Forgotten Women, Lost Songs. Holding a fundraiser on her behalf, What’s a Poor Girl Gonna Do? is appropriate to her circumstances. It’s been a rough three years for this gal, enduring a divorce, homelessness and single-motherhood, but Amanda is strong of spirit and has come through with a strong new show, of which this evening was just a preview.

Opening with a swinging “Caravan” and a lovely “A Porter’s Love Song to a Chambermaid” (Andy Razaf /James P. Johnson), King establishes her husky alto as a gem and with some fine polish, she could follow in the footsteps of Paula West. She has that early Carmen McRae/Dinah Washington/Ella Fitzgerald smoothness and a natural subtlety. King is a cabaret stylist who can nail two old gems from 1937: Mack Gordon and Harry Revel’s ballad, “Through the Courtesy of Love,” from the movie Head Over Heels, and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Rockin’ Chair,” a big hit for Mildred Bailey. Percy Mayfield’s “Lost Mind” is an excellent choice for King, a bluesy shuffle with sass and style. Well-researched on female vocalists from the 1930s including Bailey, Blanche Calloway and Bea Wayne, King does justice to the material and is comfortable with swing, blues or ballads. I look forward to watching her mature and develop into a successful song stylist.

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
August 30, 2010
www.cabaretscenes.org

BeyondChron.org

A GREAT CATALOGUE OF MUSIC

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave

Amanda King has always been good – but now she has gone beyond good to ‘Absolutely Sparkling’. Her unique sound and uncanny ability to bring back the days of Anita O’Day, Mildred Bailey, Bea Wain and Blanche Calloway made this a very special musical trip indeed.

King takes the brilliant lyrics “Heart and Soul” and the fab “Rock’n Chair” (Carmichael) and makes them her own. And while doing that – you feel like your were back in the days of the “Speakeasies”, where this kind of music was born amidst a thick cloud of cigarette smoke. 

Another special thing about the show is that King brings back the memories of the ‘Forgotten Women and Lost Songs” (the name of the show.) So expert is King with her phrasing that she is right up there with “The Best Glories of Cabaret Singers around!”

This is what great Jazz Singing is all about. King is really quite an amazing Jazz Vocalist. Her delivery is just impeccable – especially on “Oh, Lady Be Good.”

Another great treat for the evening was when Singer Russ Lorenson got up and joined King in a couple of songs. He also gave us a swell time with his medley of “Travel Songs” (on C.D.) Lorenson is another rising star in the Cabaret world.

This special evening at the Rrazz Room went by way too fast. Can’t wait for her next appearance at that magnificent Nite spot. 

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-
www.therazzroom.com.

"...Amanda King dazzled the audience with her performance."  Full article...

Examiner.com San Francisco

Classic Chanteuse a Class Act at Aegis Living

Jazz artist Amanda King performs in San Rafael

By Robin Collins | Email the author | September 26, 2010

The monthly Aegis Presents event at Aegis of San Rafael assisted care complex may be the best entertainment deal in town.

On a recent evening almost 100 guests and residents were treated to a lovely buffet of hors d'oeuvres, sweets and beverages before a musical treat in the dining room. The show was another coup by the facility's marketing director Meredith Browning, who this time snagged jazz artistAmanda King and her trio for the program.   

King, a San Francisco resident, has performed at Yoshi's, Jazz at Pearl's, the Rrazz Room, the now-closed Empire Plush Room and also with San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Next week, she's off to make her New York City debut at Lincoln Center, where she will be the only West Coast singer invited to perform at the Opening Night Gala of the 21st New York Cabaret Convention. While there, King will debut at the famed Metropolitan Room with her "Forgotten Women, Lost Songs" tribute.  

To round out her repertoire of standards, King pours through archives, recordings and old movies, in search of "little known gems from the '30's and '40's" that she presents as new again to modern audiences.

Her husky alto voice has been described as a combination of Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae (in the early years) and Dinah Washington. The delivery is smooth and the phrasing is sure. King has an infectious smile, a wonderfully open face and an actor's timing. 

King comes from a solid theater background, having been a young apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Moving to San Francisco, King entered a 2003 Bay Area Cabaret Competition on a lark and became a finalist.  Immediately she developed a following and her singing career started to blossom.  

A difficult divorce and custody battle left King homeless for a brief time, and it was through the gentle ministering of San Francisco's Raphael House that she not only found the shelter she needed, but also the encouragement to discover the inner strength and confidence which has enabled her to soar personally, professionally and vocally.  

Introduced by well-known Marin singer Noah Griffin, King was accompanied by Sota Osabe on piano and Jean Repetto on bass. They joked that Griffin is her "daddy" because he played the role of her father in Duke Ellington's Jazz Opera, "Queenie Pie," which they performed at the Oakland Opera Theatre.

King opened with  jazz standard "A Night in Tunisia," also known as "Interlude,"  written by Dizzy Gillespie. Its complex bass line and mysterious quality makes the listener eager to hear more. 

"A Porter's Lovesong to a Chambermaid," one of King's current favorites, discusses the concept of partnership with such imaginative lines as: "If you'll be the oil mop, I will be the oil … we could mingle every time we toil." 

A sing-along "Heart and Soul" was followed by a soulful rendition of "It's a Lazy Afternoon." King delivered the impish "Makin' Whoopee" with an appropriate twinkle in her eye.  Then it was "Midnight Swinger," originally written as a country song.  

In "Johnny One Note", King, indeed, held that note. "Lost My Mind" (in a wild romance) includes a lyric, "Would you be so kind to help me find my mind?" "Black Midnight" showed off piano and bass solos as well as King's velvet voice.

In a nod to her rising career, Griffin serenaded King with "Unforgettable." Next was a poetic "Old Rockin' Chair Gets Me," written by Hoagy Carmichael.

The set ended with a 1930s song, her 4-year-old son's favorite, "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" (You're So Grand)." The punched-up "Bella Bella" and "Wunderbar" were rousing, and King followed this with Antonio Carlos Jobin's rhythmic "One Note Samba."

Throughout the show, King kept up an interesting mix of tempo and style, whimsy and romance, soul and introspection. Her swinging cabaret performance thrilled the Aegis Living audience.

Wyn Ferguson was celebrating her first day at Aegis, and she and her daughters laughed that the reception and performance was a  "welcome to Aegis party." 

Carolyn McNamara, caregiver for resident Donna Johnson, gave a thumbs up to "Makin' Whoopee," saying, "They've got that one down." 

Barbara Tracy, from San Anselmo, attending with husband Dick, thinks it is terrific that King studies and performs so many of the songs from the '30s, a time that they both believe had far better lyrics than do the songs of today.   

 

Aegis of San Rafael

111 Merrydale Road

San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 233-7332

www.AegisofSanRafael.com

www.amandaking.com

www.noahgriffin.com

Amanda King — The Princess of Swing

Amanda King is a young jazz/cabaret artist well on the road to entertainment royalty. She recently brought Bay Area cabaret lovers Forgotten Women, Lost Songs at The RRazz Room, focusing on three women — Blanche Calloway, Mildred Bailey and Bea Wayne — all pioneers in music and not necessarily just for their gender. King’s radiant presence, sparkling eyes and out-of-this-world smile projects a sincere warmth and true love of her craft, evoking the essence of stars of the 1930-50s while maintaining her own style and heart.

King is a Princess of Swing, zippin’ a tune with spark and vitality that highlights aspects of the song that are rarely noticed, yet truly there. Where others might choose a more languorous approach, King gets to business finding the joyful beat inside. Case in point is her inspired version of “Skylark,” making it her own with an easy driving rhythm, illuminating the song in a fresh new light. Instead of drawn-out longing, King’s version has a joyous anticipation, her heart riding the wings of the titled bird with hope. A successful and personalized approach. Ditto with “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Where others would take a sustained, reserved approach, King swings as she sings this classic, perking the ears up. The audience took a collective lean forward, engaged and enthralled with the surprise take.

Her first song of the evening, however, is “Slap That Bass,” and it gives a full sampler platter of King’s multi-hued palette: rich, full, playful, a love of entertaining and many gifts to offer. “Black Moonlight” shows King’s delicious low notes running along currents of a saturated, healthy midrange, embellished with a smattering of well-placed vibrato shimmering an appropriate light around the mood and lyrics. “Heart & Soul” makes one think of a keyboard duet in beginning piano class when we hear the title, but King gives us a grown-up, jazzy version that choreographic-great Jack Cole would have been inspired by in his time (do a Wikipedia search on Cole to see his influence in entertainment).

In an evening of excellence, of special note is her encore. She returned to the stage, was going to change her selection, then decided to stay with what she rehearsed. Lucky for us. What she does with “Lazy Afternoon” is beyond exquisite. Here, she plays the mood down-tempo, inhabiting the long, luxurious, sensual and sense-filled events of a quiet day meant to be shared. Jaw-droppingly-good, this should be a King signature tune. She transports the audience and sends us off with this melting, luscious melding of artist and song.

There’s not a false note on a single song from King’s side of the stage. Her bassist, Chuck Bennett, is old-school, swing/be-bop-tastic. A brilliant artist. Shota Osabe is tight and sparkling on the keys. And charismatic drummer Surya Nur Patri is a good percussionist, but his style often didn’t completely mesh with the other artists on stage.

King’s performance was flawless. It was glorious!  Full article...

Lee Hartgrave (2009) - BeyondChron.org (Jan 5, 2009)

BeyondChron.org

A GREAT CATALOGUE OF MUSIC

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave

Amanda King has always been good – but now she has gone beyond good to ‘Absolutely Sparkling’. Her unique sound and uncanny ability to bring back the days of Anita O’Day, Mildred Bailey, Bea Wain and Blanche Calloway made this a very special musical trip indeed.

King takes the brilliant lyrics “Heart and Soul” and the fab “Rock’n Chair” (Carmichael) and makes them her own. And while doing that – you feel like your were back in the days of the “Speakeasies”, where this kind of music was born amidst a thick cloud of cigarette smoke. 

Another special thing about the show is that King brings back the memories of the ‘Forgotten Women and Lost Songs” (the name of the show.) So expert is King with her phrasing that she is right up there with “The Best Glories of Cabaret Singers around!”

This is what great Jazz Singing is all about. King is really quite an amazing Jazz Vocalist. Her delivery is just impeccable – especially on “Oh, Lady Be Good.”

Another great treat for the evening was when Singer Russ Lorenson got up and joined King in a couple of songs. He also gave us a swell time with his medley of “Travel Songs” (on C.D.) Lorenson is another rising star in the Cabaret world.

This special evening at the Rrazz Room went by way too fast. Can’t wait for her next appearance at that magnificent Nite spot. 

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-
www.therazzroom.com.

Amanda King

 

The Swing of Things

 

Rrazz Room
San Francisco, CA
 
In the third of her Jazz Series shows, Amanda King once again proves she’s a talented newcomer comfortable with her material and capable of great things in the future. Surrounding herself with an amazing collection of jazz musicians: Bill Bell (who played with Carmen McRae), reedman Noel Jewkes (Paula West and Wesla Whitfield), and the amazing rhythm section of Ed Marshall and Jeff Chambers, King allowed her material to breathe easily with tasteful instrumental breaks between verses. Her warm, deep alto grabs onto a lyric without overpowering it, combined with the ability to skip up to higher registers at ease.

The Gershwins’ “But Not for Me” was uptempo and showed off King’s vocals splendidly, as did the last two songs of her ballad medley: “’Round Midnight” and “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry.” King can swing with the best and handle a lovely ballad with delicate phrasing and smooth arrangements. Her eclectic song choices keep your interest, like the jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street” and the lushly romantic “Azure-Te”. “Abi Gezunt,” a klezmer novelty song, became a swing gem with a wonderful clarinet solo from Jewkes (King is fashioning a show to illustrate the links between African-American scat vocals and Jewish klezmer music).

King soared on the mambo-based Dean Martin hit “Sway” and her lovely encore, the Duke Ellington/Irving Mills ballad, “Azure.” Softly, delicately delivered, King accentuated the dreamy quality of the melody and lyric. She needs some work on her between-song banter, but, for her youth, she displays amazing maturity and command of her material. With plenty of natural talent and good taste, King has unlimited potential.

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
May 9, 2011
www.cabaretscenes.org

"The delivery is smooth and the phrasing is sure. King has an infectious smile, a wonderfully open face and an actor's timing."  Full review...

Patch.com San Rafael

"...popular songs from the ‘30s and ‘40s now referred to as the American Songbook. This treasured material has Amanda’s name written all over it. Her tone is rich and sexy, her phrasing is smooth, the delivery balances carefree passion with subtle humor. Amanda King is the right girl for the very best in American songwriting."  Full article...

Sean Martinfield - San Francisco Sentinel Interview (Jun 4, 2009)

Raphael House one Home, many Hearts Gala at Bimbo's 365 Club

 April 25, 1:30 AM · Moanalani Jeffrey - SF Socialite Examiner

 

Location, location, location. Bimbo’s 365 Club is soaked in nostalgia. It was the perfect venue for the One Home, Many Hearts Roaring 20’s Gala. The swanky night was put together to benefit the Raphael House.

Raphael House opened its doors in 1971 welcoming families dealing with homelessness. Their mission is “moving families from crisis to community” by helping parents find housing and a means to financial independence. Many people remarked on the “strict” house rules. Though they may be tough, occupants know they are instrumental in strengthening family bonds and success in and out of the program.

 

Former resident slash budding jazz singer, Amanda King dazzled the audience with her performance. She sang her heart out to a sea of guys and dolls in tuxedos, feathers and fringe. Polka dots of light swirled around like you were watching the night unfold through a glass of bubbly. After dinner the big band played at center stage while guests kicked up their heels on the dance floor.

Other popular attractions included the long list of auction items and gambling tucked away in the dark recesses.

Those seen indulging in the night’s delights were Gala Co-Chairs Jessica Moment, Betty Kay Coakley and Alyson Jackson. Joining them in the fun were Sarah Granger, Chuck Pletcher, Moya Stone and Richard Aiello. Marius Carluci, Timothy Williamson looked sharp as ever. Other guests giving Hollywood a run for it’s money were Claudia Keith Ross, Marybeth & Rich La Motte, Brenda Zarate, Jay Nicolas Sario, Eoin Harrington, Elizabeth Thieriot and Robert Eves.

The gala plays a key role in fundraising efforts. Raphael House is privately funded and relies 100% on non-government money to cover the 2.2 million dollar budget. The One Home, Many Hearts Gala is the biggest fundraising event the organization will have all year. 20% of their budget is meant to come from that one night. Attention to detail was in everything. They even provided costume hats so men could choose to be gents or gangsters. If you want to dress up for a good cause and have a fun night this is one you should keep on your radar. Though the glitz and ritz has faded into the night, donations can be contributed throughout the year by contacting the Raphael House.

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All the best-

Moanalani Jeffrey