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DRUNK WITH LOVE: Press

Faye made more than a dozen albums, collaborating with the aristocrats of pop-jazz arrangers, Dave Cavanaugh, Marty Paich and Russ Garcia, and musicians like Maynard Ferguson and Herbie Mann. Faye was partial to a Latin beat, and Jack Costanzo, the great bongoist, often supplied it. If you own nothing of Faye’s, “Caught in the Act” is a good place to start. So is Terese Genecco, who performs songs identified with Faye at the New York club Iridium. Please don’t stop reading. Genecco is no dumb tribute act. She does not want to be Frances Faye; she does make you understand why she’s so important. With Nick Christo it’s more the other way around. Christo is an Australian singer whose entire show is devoted to Faye. His chirpy, wide-eyed approach is at odds with her material. Also, he’s not a girl. ~CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE ONLINE

There were no "mice" in the Ratpack—it was strictly an all-boy's club. But if Frank, Dean and Sammy ever returned from the Great Casino in the Sky, the first youngish female singer that I'd recommend to join their clan is this high-voltage entertainer. Ms. Genecco is deeply rooted in the early 1960s, the colorful last gasp of the era of swingin' lovers, and, as such, draws equally from Louis Prima and Sammy Davis on one hand and Ray Charles and Elvis on the other. On the last Tuesday of each month, she and her three horns and five rhythm put on an unstoppable juggernaut of a set at the Iridium, with one hard-hitting swinger after another, pausing only for what she describes as a mandatory "two-ballad maximum." The calendar may say Dec. 28, but Ms. Genecco makes every show seem like New Year's Eve.

“The Man I Love,” the Gershwins’ torch anthem of lonely yearning, isn’t usually considered a feel-good tune. But it’s hard to avoid feeling pretty darn great when Terese Genecco launches into her bouncy, full-hearted rendition of the song—accompanied by a cooking seven-piece band—at the top of Drunk with Love: A Tribute to Frances Faye. Genecco is carrying a torch, sure, but not for some long-delayed suitor-to-be; rather, she’s channeling the irrepressible spirit of the late Faye, a cult nightclub star known for her raucous energy, frank bisexuality and naughty way with a lyric. (In “The Man I Love,” when singing the line “I’ll do my best to make him stay,” she coyly leaves out the final word.)

The San Francisco–based Genecco made her New York debut just last year; a river of good buzz carried her to an encore set at the Met Room in May, and now to a second return. This newest version of Drunk with Love focuses on Faye’s spirited jazz arrangements of popular tunes. “I don’t look like Frances Faye and I don’t sound like her,” Genecco concedes; instead of imitating her idol, she aims to reproduce “the essence of what it would be like to be at one of her shows.” And the evening’s snappy, zippy swing does leave you feeling like part of the polyamorous daisy chain that Faye lays out in “Frances and Her Friends”: happily woven into an inner circle of frisky retro fun.

There are many one night benefits, galas and celebrations and though many are star filled, most are not unique enough to be considered an “Event.”  “A 95th Birthday Tribute to Russell Garcia” starring Shaynee Rainbolt, Terese Genecco, Billy Stritch and an all-star 9-piece “Little Big Band,” featuring Garcia’s signature four-trombone sound, was an “Event” at the Iridium Jazz Club.  The great musicians in the “Little Big Band” for the record were John Fedchock, John Allred, Nate Mayland and George Flynn on trombones, Bud Burridge on trumpet, Cliff Lyons on tenor saxophone, Ray Marchica on drums, Tom Hubbard on bass, and Stritch on piano.

A unique part of the “Event” was the presence of Garcia, unable to travel, and his wife-lyricist Gina, live on Skype giving us great anecdotes of his life and professional experiences and interacting with the performers and the audience.  The entire performance was streamed live worldwide on www.IridiumLive.tv and is still available.  (Note: The stream begins with a static shot of the stage.  You are able to fast forward to the performance beginning)

The evening began with Russ Garcia and Gina speaking directly to us (there were big screens in the room so everyone in the sold-out house could see and hear). From time to time, he gave personal history, growing up in Oakland, California, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge being built, playing in a band while a student, dropping out of college because he knew more about music than the professor, and eventually landing in Hollywood where his prolific recording, composing and arranging career began.  Among the bands for which he wrote arrangements were Stan Kenton and for movies “The Glenn Miller Story” and “Touch of Evil.”  Shaynee Rainbolt, two years ago, did a tribute album Charmed Life which won a MAC award, and an original song written by Garcia and Rainbolt won Best Song the year prior.

Rainbolt, in a beautiful blue dress, sang Garcia’s “Flying Free,” a rhythm number on which she soars above the horns, wailing in the style of Cleo Laine.  Genecco showed up on stage in a black suit with an electric blue shirt that matched Rainbolt’s dress color and did Garcia’s arrangement of “Somebody Loves Me,” with great solos by Hubbard and Stritch.  Genecco and Stritch also did Garcia’s arrangement for Mel Torme of “Swinging on the Moon.”

Genecco explained Stritch had opened the Metropolitan Room four years ago with his Mel Torme show and Genecco was the second booking with her Frances Faye show.    This evening, Genecco commissioned Tom Hubbard to recreate Garcia’s “Porgy and Bess” arrangement for Frances Faye and Mel Torme.  Garcia, on screen, told us that when Bethlehem called him about doing the album, he asked them which one was playing Porgy!  Stritch and Genecco did an exciting “Bess You Is My Woman” showing off great voices and spine-tingling electricity, creating a moment of thrilling rapture for an audience full of major cabaret and Broadway stars. Rainbolt, with acknowledgement to Marilyn Maye in the audience, did a rip-roaring fast “Take Five” with those four trombones and the band wailing down the sound barrier.

Rainbolt returned to do the title song from the Garcia album “Charmed Life.”  Genecco returned and did a number from Faye’s folk song album, Garcia’s exciting arrangement of “Frankie and Johnnie.”  There were more personal reminiscences by Garcia and the band did a full scale instrumental of a Garcia original.  When Rainbolt and Genecco returned again, they turned the laptop around and the entire room sang “Happy Birthday” to Russ Garcia, who is “younger than springtime” at 95, still composing and teaching young musicians.

It isn’t every day we can celebrate like this, but we can look forward to future engagements by Genecco and her “Little Big Band” on December 27th at the Iridium (going into her third year), Rainbolt at her regular series at Ashford & Simpson’s on West 72 Street, and Stritch with major stars that keep him busy year round.  Hopefully we’ll see Genecco and Stritch do a full “Porgy and Bess” concert sometime in the future.

The theory that "you can’t please all the people all the time" is, apparently, dead wrong. The very pleasing and powerhouse Terese Genecco takes the challenge and wins, at least judging by the rave reviews she’s already collected and the reactions of the opening night audience at her return engagement in New York City. Her show is a tribute to a unique figure in show biz history, Frances Faye: bawdy, brash, funny, uninhibited and a steamroller whose voice and band were a blast-and thought her audiences should HAVE a blast. Terese is of the same mind and has the same qualities. Familiarity with Faye is not a prerequisite-audience members with no familiarity of Faye’s ways were perhaps quite surprised, but seemed just as royally entertained as those who came in knowing the style and material. Terese is justly proud of the fact that her act has won praise from the late Frances Faye’s most dedicated fans and personal friends and musical associates, and has their support. But if you weren’t part of the group, you won’t feel out of the loop. Those who know the legacy just appreciate the show on an extra level. Talent is talent.

Another feather in her cap is that she has the blessing and assistance of Teri Shepherd, the woman who was the icon’s partner in business and life. Yes, Frances Faye was the rare "out" lesbian entertainer over 50 years ago. The show happily celebrates Frances’ out-and-proud and the hell with everything else attitude, and Terese embraces that and everything else about Frances. And she embodies it herself. Some of the show is done more "as" Frances, taking on her attitude and performance style, down to the highly quotable stage quips. ("Gay! Gay! Gay! Is there any other way?") and the musical arrangements. Sometimes, she takes a few steps back and talks ABOUT Frances from her own well-researched point of view and sings more as herself. She says onstage that the show is "a recreation of the spirit" of the star she has come to refer to as "Fran," though she never met her. (Faye died in 1991.)


Working with a hot 7-piece band (she shared piano duties in New York with Barry Levitt), Terese Genecco delivers showstopper after showstopper in a confident manner and has voice to burn. You can tell in the first thirty seconds as she bounds onto the stage and sings out in a clear voice that soars on open vowels and rings through the room. Pow! Pow! Pow! We’re in very good hands here. In addition to bits of songs used as throwaways to make a joke, the songs include all-stops-out treatments of Night and Day, I Ain’t Got Nobody, Unchain My Heart, and a few Faye wrote herself. There are also selections from the Beatles’ songbook - they were Faye fans-and some Gershwin. Many are delivered full force, with a determination to entertain and connect, the audience directly addressed, teased, and courted. To say it is a high energy show would be the understatement of the year. The band in New York also included Brian Fishler (drums), Joe Corsaro (percussion), Fil Lorenz on woodwinds, Max Perkoff on trombone and Bud Burridge on trumpet.Tom Hubbard was on bass on opening night, but Bill Moring also does some shows. These are top pros all, who are very much part of the celebration, as evidenced by the interplay and high flying playing.

The show had the happy fate to be booked as part of the opening month at New York City’s newest venue, The Metropolitan Room at 34 West 22nd Street. (It’s already been booked with popular entertainment figures, including Karen Mason, reviewed favorably at this website in recent months. The manager is Lennie Watts, a talented performer in his own right. The Room looks great and sounds great, too; the sound and lighting for this show were especially effective. Bigger than many clubs, this showroom can handle a big act like this without feeling at all claustrophobic.

Terese has also been alerted that she has pleased Frances Faye herself. She told me, "A recent musical collaborator in San Francisco, who claims to be clairvoyant, told me that Frances Faye drops in during my performances from time to time and really enjoys what I’m doing. He told me that she doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome but she totally digs what I’m doing. And he said we’ve lived a couple of past lives together, one including powdered wigs, which would explain why we both have a strong aversion to being told how to wear our hair!"

It doesn’t matter a bit how she wears her hair. The vivacious San Francisco-based entertainer wears her talent well, like her beloved Fran. Her audiences are ecstatic and Terese Genecco is FRAN-tastic.

This is one hot chick who is also one cool cat! Terese Genecco heads up eight fab musicians in an easy, swingin’ vocal jazz style opening with Lee Adams/Charles Strouse’ “A Lot of Livin’ To Do.” She’s a take charge gal proficient in every aspect of music and performance, keeping the Great American Songbook alive and kicking. From Mel Torme’s “Let’s Go Swingin’on the Moon’ and Rat Pack goodies  “Something’s Gotta Give” and “Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home,” Genecco grabs her audience and holds on tight with her powerhouse sassiness.

Her generosity overflows as she invites guests to perform including her producer and manager of the Iridium Jazz Club, Scott Barbarino, who paid tribute to Dean Martin with favorite “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Shaynee Rainbolt, MAC Award winning jazz singer, was next on stage wowing with Latin “Esta Tarde Vi Llover” (Yesterday I Heard the Rain) and Broadway artist Rosemary Loar conquered with an original riffing improv take on “One o’clock Jump.”

Guitarist Sean Harkness soloed in honor of his birthday and Terese showed off her multi skills as she took over at the drum set singing and playing a steaming “Unchain My Heart,” ending her first set to a full appreciative house.

Terese Genecco & Her Little Big Band can be seen at the Iridium Jazz Club the last Tuesday of each month at 8 and 10 p.m.

There’s a monthly party going on in New York and you’re all invited. Don’t be crying in your beer if you miss your chance to see Terese Genecco at Iridium while the ticket is still reasonably priced and before she moves on to the world’s great halls.

The irrepressible Genecco-an old school, world class entertainer the likes of which many decry that they don’t make anymore-bounds onto the stage with her (count ’em) seven piece band (her Little Big Band, she calls them) and launches into Charles Strouse’s "Lot of Livin’ to Do." Dressed in a black tux, shirt and tie, this dynamo-like many of the greats before her-is short in stature but gigantic in talent and charisma.  She notes in her opening patter that her show has been running at the club for a year and half. "Sadly, that qualifies us as the longest-running nightclub act on Broadway. There are not a lot of us doing this anymore." No, there are not . . . and perhaps only a few that can manage it with such aplomb.  Genecco introduces her pianist, Barry Levitt, as "the maestro," with whom she’s been working for five years. Back then, she was wowing audiences in San Francisco, which was then her home base.

A full-throttle celebration

However, she’s not one to call any one place home, she says, introducing "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home" (Arlen/Mercer). She sings it as a defiant, tour-de-force and it’s one of those nightclub moments one remembers for years to come. The band is simply amazing, and Mark Miller on trombone gets a special nod for his efforts on this number.  At another point, Genecco introduces a song by saying, "I don’t know who wrote it and I don’t care!" (It was, in fact, Mercer’s "Something’s Gotta Give"). No, this is not the Andrea Marcovicci school of cabaret, with its impressive historical anecdotes. It’s a full-throttle celebration.  Of course, Genecco has tongue firmly planted in cheek. She is such a musician, from the ends of her tapping toes to the tips of her outstretched fingers, there is no way she doesn’t know everything about the music she does so well.  Despite all that glorious sound surrounding her, not a word is lost. Her instrument-with both the comforting tones of kd lang and the drive of LuPone-perfectly matches those around her and her diction is impeccable.

Genecco is completely at ease with her audience. She has diva-like talent and yet one still wants to hang out with her after the show, she is so welcoming.  She is also refreshingly candid and flirty about her sexuality. Introducing her guitarist, Sean Harkness, she says, "He’s so pretty, why should I give him more props? All the girls I’m looking at go to him!"  Later, during a guest appearance by Scott Barbarino and the three nubile Tropicabana Girls, Genecco takes turns wedging herself between them and shamelessly ogling them up and down.

Other triumphs include a soaring version of "Come Rain or Come Shine" (Arlen/Mercer) and, incredibly, a recreation of Sammy Davis Jr.’s "West Side Story" medley. Both feature the stunning work of Mayra Casales on percussion, the latter being sung with only percussion.  "It’s a little bit like jumping out of an airplane," Genecco says of the "West Side Story" medley. "Tonight" gave this reviewer goose bumps. Genecco stayed in rhythm and on pitch throughout this marathon but missed one high note. She tossed off an aw-shucks remark and continued on. The mistake was almost welcome-the audience was able to breathe again after the suspense created in that skydiving act.  Genecco offered "Viva Las Vegas" from her Elvis show but that material didn’t quite live up to the well-known standards she had been delivering. She is a big band singer through and through.

She ended the evening with an all-encompassing rendition of "Kansas City," which allowed each band member to take a solo.  Terese Genecco’s enthusiasm is boyish but her passion is all woman.

In closing, one must ask, "New York Times, Broadway producers, where are you?" Someone should be writing a show for this woman. If the powers that be think there are no new big stars to be found, they aren’t looking hard enough.  My suggestion? Get out from behind your big mahogany desk and get yourself down to the Iridium on the last Tuesday of the month. Pronto. This kind of comet doesn’t pass our way nearly often enough.

In the most dedicated and triumphant case of identity theft in a long time, Terese Genecco hits the bullseye in saluting the object of her affection, the brassy and irreverent saloon singer Frances Faye (1912-1991). The ebullient and emboldened Terese has a warmer and sunnier sound than her idol, and that just makes things all the more joyful. The Faye way fits her like a second skin as she comfortably takes on or refers to the late entertainer's sassy way with a song and a quip.

Arrangements and phrasing have been studiously recreated, but sound fresh and natural rather than warmed over or timidly, tepidly copied. Her blaring, sizzling band is rough and tough and up to snuff. She strikes up the band and they strike up a relationship that finds them feeding off each other's energy. This goes from from the sung greeting, "good eeee-vening, ladies and gentlemen, how do you do" and high-voltage, quick-tempo "The Man I Love" with its asides to a fabulous finish with the Faye finale, her trademark "Frances and Her Friends" and a goodbye to a sated, gratefully cheering audience.

The act was recorded live at New York's Metropolitan Room, the club that is celebrating its one-year anniversary this week. I was there during this engagement and frankly wondered if the electric chemistry between performer and audience (and performer and band) could be captured on CD. I need not have worried; the mutual admiration society is in full evidence, with just enough of the talk kept in to give the sense of the devilish good spirits.

Radiating good humor and reveling in the company of the band, the audience and the channeled spirit of Frances, Terese sings with abandon, wailing and belting. During the rare moments when she slows down, in "Drunk with Love" and "Purple Wine," she reveals a capacity for unguarded emotional emotional singing. Otherwise, don't go looking for drama or storytelling through lyrics: this is entertainment, pure and simple and smashing, with artistic license taken with lyrics a la Faye with an eye to be provocative. Mostly it's a pulse-racing romp through material like Cole Porter's "Night and Day" and "Unchain My Heart" that feels like an intravenous dose of caffeine and adrenalin with pounding percussion and blaring brass. There are some playful winks at material such as "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" and little throwaways like a couple of lines of "If I Were a Rich Man."

Listening to some old Frances Faye records in between exposures to Terese's Bistro Award-winning tribute made me appreciate again how refreshing this work is, and also how studiously the singer did her homework. The style and substance are recycled with relish, and the brazen, in-your-face but teasing attitude that sounds so off the cuff with Terese were all etched in vinyl. One need not be a student of the Faye heyday to appreciate the pure entertainment value of Terese Genecco and her very hot and swinging "little big band." She sometimes plays piano herself, and at other times leaves the keyboard in the very capable hands of Barry Lloyd who musical directs many acts in San Francisco, where both are based.

Terese is spending May 31-June 9 at The Plush Room in San Francisco, alternating between this show and her new one, a tribute to composer Arthur Schwartz which I also enjoyed when she premiered it in New York a few weeks ago. She is no one-trick pony, just a rollicking reincarnation of a rambunctious, rhythmic rebel.
Frances Faye (1912-1991) was a brilliant and bawdy cabaret and show tune singer and pianist who is espirited back on stage by the equally funny and talented Terese Genecco, winner of multiple show and cabaret awards. Channelling the best of Frances Faye, complete with Genecco's "little big band," she pulls in the most jaded of audiences and banters through gab old school songs including a swinging Beatle's medley. Recorded live at New York's The Metropolitan Room you are transported back into a time when lady singers were no ladies at all and Terese brings a wink and a nod to some old gems well worth hearing again. This is easily a cross-generational thrill that many artists simply don't pull off that well. My picks: "The Man I Love," "Tonight You Belong To Me," "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate," "Should I Strip," "Night and Day," "Drunk With Love," "Mister Rogers," "St James Infirmary," "Purple Wine" and "Finale (Frances & Her Friends)." Gig alert! Wallow in retro goodness with Terese Genecco and her little big band at San Francisco's Hotel Nikko, Saturday nights through May.
Red-hot and invigorating, Terese Genecco's sensational debut CD is a live recording of her super-high-spirited act, channeling and saluting the late iconoclastic nightclub entertainer Frances Faye. Brash, belty and bombastic, Terese comes out of the starting gate at a pace and energy some singers never even build up to, and she rarely slows down. With pulse-racing, smashing arrangements for a top-drawer band blaring away, they feed off each other, and the bravura celebration is truly exciting - and there's humor, too, in the offhand, cocky humor too, a Faye trademark. Some of her one-liners and asides are in the patter. Terese has soaked up the raw style and "let's have fun" attitude, and it's contagious goodwill and good singing. This performance of "Drunk With Love" took place at The Metropolitan Room where she returned a few months ago for the "sequel," with more splashy material from the Faye heyday. The CD is a triumph.
The following CDs were chosen as the Top 10 Cabaret CDs of 2007 by 2007-2008 members of Cabaret Hotline Online:

DRUNK WITH LOVE: TERESE GENECCO

Blues In The Night: Ann Hampton Callaway

If I Knew Now (What I Knew Then): Cynthia Crane

Winter Warm: Sophia Bilides

Brandon Cutrell: Brandon Cutrell

Plain And Simple: John De Marco

Timber: Ritt Henn

Long As You're Living: LInda Kosut

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans: Barbara Lea

At Last: Marcus Simeone

Terese Genecco was also named one of the TOP TEN FAVORITE PERFORMERS of 2007 by the members of Cabaret Hotline Online.