Introducing Kasi Jones:
Tom Rolla's Gardenia
West Hollywood, CA
Kasi Jones is astonishing — a talented singer who makes her art seem completely effortless.
If it wasn’t clear from her first song — Eubie Blake and Andy Razaf’s “My Handy Man Ain’t Handy No More,” in which she delivered all the double entendres with a combination of feigned innocence and self-assured sensuality — then it was certainly clear from her second number — the aptly titled “Astonishing,” from Little Women, the musical by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein, in which she sang about her ambitions (“I only know I’m meant for something more/ I’ve got to know if I can be/Astonishing.”)
Clearly, Jones, just 24, is meant for something more, exuding as she does all the confidence, charm, charisma and control of a seasoned performer with a great set of pipes—and it was only her cabaret debut!
There were a few high notes where she faltered a bit, and a brief attempt at scatting that missed the mark in Robert Hazard’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” but those were mere crumbs in a banquet of glorious singing that showed off Jones’ many facets in a dazzling swirl of talent that didn’t wane for a moment.
For much of the evening, one song was separated from the next by just a few words of autobiographical patter. This made it seem as if Jones was delivering one continuous aria of emotion, from the bitterness of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” to the declarations of a woman who knows she’s with the wrong man in “He’s No Good,” (Cy Coleman/Ira Gasman), to the defiance and ultimate regret of Andrew Lippa’s “Life of the Party” to the sweetness and beauty of Kander and Ebb’s “A Quiet Thing.”
She even brought an array of shifting emotions to an old war horse like “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now,” by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf, and she capped the evening with Stephen Schwartz’s “Making Good,” which was cut from Wicked.
Jones was ably accompanied by Todd Schroeder, who got to perform several brief nimble-fingered solos and to do a bit of singing, though he seemed completely willing to let Jones shine.
When Jones stopped between songs at one point to consult her 13-year-old self, the youngster in her asked, “Are we a star yet?” All signs indicate she will be, once the world discovers this astonishing talent.
March 11, 2009