Cynthia Crane: at the top of her game
Best known in the cabaret community as a classic jazz singer, Cynthia Crane surprised us with a classic cabaret act, instead. Artfully assembled, delivered with a lifetime's worth of craft, her show entitled If I Knew Now ... displayed for all to see what she knows now about putting on a show which is plenty.
Performing with hard won wisdom, Crane gave her show a political slant, peppering the evening with witty songs like "Everything I Buy Was Made in China" (Clark Gesner) and the sharply observed "My Country Used to Be" (Dave Frishberg). Most stunning of all was her resurrection of a hilarious twenty year old song about global warming by Jay Leonhart called "Goodbye, Miami." Clearly Leonhart knew then what we know now. And clearly Crane was clever enough to dig it out and sing its stinging satire with a knowing wink.
Crane also applied her wisdom to the subject of love in a short song cycle that included a wistful "Fun to be Fooled" (Ira Gershwin/E.Y. Hamburg/Harold Arlen) followed by a ruefully accepting rendition of "Close Enough for Love" (Paul Williams/Johnny Mandel). On a more playful note or, rather, two notes she also scored with the pairing of "May I Come In" (Marvin Fisher/Jack Segal), a song of romantic hope, followed by the end of all hope when he tries to come in one time too many: "Not You Again" (Duncan Lamont).
Not only did Crane choose her material exceptionally well, she put it over with the right mixture of acting acumen and stylish sense of self. The show was not about her voice, it was about her point of view which she expressed with humor and a generous helping of personality. We hope she'll bring this show back again after the summer.”
Barbara & Scott Siegel on TalkinBroadway.com
In this depressing period of club closings, it's heartening to note that some cabaret entertainers are taking matters into their own hands. Consider the case of Cynthia Crane: She's a well-established jazz singer with five CDs to her credit who has created her own opportunity by making an arrangement to sing every Monday night from 7 to 11pm at a restaurant in the West Village called NYC. After we heard about this newly minted venue, we stopped in to catch a couple of Crane's sets. We found ourselves charmed by the informal yet serious approach she took to her performance. She put a sophisticated spin on "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," singing it in both French and English. Mind you, the sophistication was arrived at not by singing in French but by her attention to the lyric. Adding to the stylish mood was Crane's choice of accompaniment: a jazz guitar played by the talented Andy Brown, who elegantly backed the singer. Wisely leaning toward well known standards in a restaurant where there was no performance history, Crane served up a delicious versions of two songs by Rodgers & Hart, "Mountain Greenery" and the ever-popular "Manhattan." Over the course of the evening, Crane displayed a special affinity for the songs of this venerable team, but her calling card is versatility. She scored particularly well with "Fools Rush In," singing it with the authority of a woman who's lived and learned. And in Cole Porter's "I Concentrate on You," she made us concentrate on her.
Barbara & Scott Siegel
"In this world of ordinary singers, extraordinary singers, I'm glad there is Cynthia Crane"
Chuck Berg, Jazz Times
"Anybody who digs quality has to be a sucker for Cynthia Crane. If you have any doubts, just listen to her previous CDs with Mike Renzi, Smoky Bar Songs For No-Smoking Section and Blue Rendezvous. They truly define the art of saloon singing; that smoky husky sound grows on you. And guess what? She's done it again with Cynthia's In Love; it will always have a place on the top shelf of my radio studio, ready to share with my listeners anytime."
Ron Della Chiesa, Jazz Songbook
WGBH Radio, Boston
I get a great purple stardust out of the great choice of tunes and this canary's moody, heartfelt warblings. That kind of tenderness can tear at your heart. And all those great musicians I've known since the old days on WNEW. Very Tasty.
Applause applause applause!"
"There is nothing better than a vocalist with a deep, dark vibrato and great intonation. If you like June Christy, Billie Holiday, or Ann Richards, then you will like this one"
Romus, Jazz Now
Michael Bourne, WBGO
"Cynthia Crane deserves to be better known...her style is real, heartfelt and deeply affecting...Crane's voice hits me right where it counts."
Eric Meyers, TimeOut NY
"Crane has become the standard by which this station measures other jazz vocalists."
Malvin Massey, WUMR MemphisWRTN
"A jazz singer in the best sense of the term, with her deep smoky voice she connects profoundly with each and every lyric, but never hides the melody with vocal acrobatics - She's funny and charming besides."
Lesley Alexander, WRTN FM
"Cynthia Crane ventures into that world of melancholy and regret and convinces you that those lyrics written so long ago are still as fresh and new as this minute."
Mike Rapchak, WGN Radio
"Polished & compelling. Imaginative, unusually varied set of songs"
The New York Times
"First rate!...Exciting chanteuse! This vivacious singer continues to impress with her considerable vocal talent. Crane's winning personality, musicianship and varied choice of material keeps the audience concentrating on her ...(Crane) has personality and panache. She has a worldly-wise attitude that gives her show a ring of truth. (She) scores her biggest hits with her smokey-textured lower voice."
"With her polished voice, Cynthia Crane gives an intelligent show rich in theatricality & humor. A supremely entertaining evening."
Jacques Lesourd, Gannet
"Elle a fait les beaux soirs des cabarets New Yorkais avec originalite et talent. Elle est arrivée avec chansons de bars enfumés, l'ambiance totalement Américaine."
"With a remarkably live feel, it captures her smoky, dusky tones to perfection. This latest record is her best, which is saying something."
Gordon Wallace, Mandate Magazine
"Crane & Renzi make music most magical...Best jazz recording of the year. So sublimely satisfying, it's almost sinful!"
The Sun Herald
" I have been smitten by feminine jazz vocalization, swept away by what these divas of jazz can do to a lyric. Two lovely women come to the fore, Diana Krall (Love Scenes ****) and Cynthia Crane (Cynthia's In Love ****) one a young lioness, the other a mainstay. They are two superb individual talents. Krall and Crane have love in their voices and you will too." AND It was voted one of the year's 10 Best by Jeff Rossen in Chicago: "I've come to await each new release by the hypnotic Cynthia Crane like some people look forward to the first warm day of spring. Like those first comforting breezes that rejuvenate after the cruelty of winter, Crane's mellifluous vocal can ignite a fire in even the coldest of hearts. Each of the heavenly tracks on Cynthia's In Love is a gem...first class musicians. Arranger-Pianist, Mike Renzi, as I've said before, is the finest arranger working today. Crane is instantly inviting and absolutely irresistible."
"A superb jazz & blues singer. The rich, throaty quality created an emotionally smoky texture."
Al Hirschfeld drawing reproduced by special arrangement with Hirschfeld’s exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd., New York
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