From New York City to South Florida the musical tour de force that is Nicolas King and music director Mike Renzi always produce one of the finest melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic adventures that traverse the circuit of concert/cabaret venues.
Nicolas has one part of his musicianship rooted and schooled in the past, one part comfortably in the present, and one part focused on exploring new horizons. His shows are always a dazzling display of vocal proficiency funneled through his god given luxurious and distinctive voice. Last night he thrilled an audience of New York fans at The Green Room 42 just as he did recently at The Wick Cabaret in South Florida and Sardellas in Rhode Island. Mike Renzi, the legendary pianist and music director for every major singer of the golden age of nightclub performers supplied his extraordinary sensitive and imaginative accompaniments. Mike knows what to play, when to play, and knows how to fill every space underneath a vocalist with impeccable notes and chords, all executed with a technique long schooled in the discipline of the classics. To paraphrase one of Mike’s singers (Peggy Lee)… I love the East, I Love the West, and North or South their both the best, and I Loved being here with Mike Renzi & Nicolas King last night (also loved being there with Steven Reineke & Eric Gabbard and other music connoisseurs.
Joining us at Nicolas’ show was the renowned music historian, writer, and commentator Will Friedwald and here is what he had to say about Nicolas King…….
“Comparing a contemporary artist like Nicolas King to a legacy master like the late Ella Fitzgerald or, more to the point, Mel Torme, is usually a tricky matter. But Nicolas King constantly invites the comparison, not only by collaborating with Torme’s last great musical director, the superlative accompanist Mike Renzi, but by making one of Torme’s signature set-pieces, his epic baroque re-working of Jerome Kern’s “Pick Yourself Up,” into one of the major tentpoles of his set. He recreates it vividly, note for note, with a verve and gusto con brio that would have tickled Mel himself, changing only some of the accompanying narration. Yet as expert as his direct homage to the late Mel is, he honors Mel’s memory even more expertly with the rest of the show, which is built around medleys and song-collages of the sort Mel pioneered, combining two songs in a way that weaves them into a greater whole: “Yes I Can,” originally written for Golden Boy (composer Charlie Strouse actually lives only a few blocks away from The Green Room), becomes intertwined with “I Can See it” (from “The Fantasticks”) with the aid of some unexpected en clave playing from Mr. Renzi and a few unexpected modulations – Mr. King is the master of the subtle key change. More than a few spectators thought Mr. King would work brilliantly in a Las Vegas showroom setting, but of course they meant the Las Vegas of 1960, he’s a much stronger swinger and a more emotive balladeer (as on James Taylor’s “Secret O’ Life”) than nearly anybody that’s appeared in that city in the last 60 years. Nicolas King sings in the idealized, perfect Vegas of our collective dreams.”
The Green Room 42 @ the YOTEL