Adi Braun at Danny's Skylight Room

Cabaret Scenes
June 2006
Elizabeth Ahlfors

Captivating jazz vocalist, Adi Braun, delivers audacious swing and insinuating gentleness in her show, The Rules of the Game at Danny's Skylight Room. Falling In Love Again, she quipped, was Dietrich with a dash of Wynona Judd. That Euro-Nashville mix says something about Braun; she has a vocal tone that carries echoes of many familiar influences, a tad Dinah Washington, a hint of Lena Horne, the enveloping warmth of Doris Day, but all gift-wrapped up in a unique sound that is singular Adi Braun.

It is not always successful merging from a classical singing career into a jazz mode, but Braun manages with a persuasive sense of rhythm, a feeling of fun and spontaneity. She shows capable scat chops with a finger-snapping Love Me or Leave Me (Donaldson/Kahn), with Mark Alan Wade's bass that gets you moving. She gets particularly cheeky with an up-tempo Honeysuckle Rose (Waller), stirring it up with a generous dose of scat and a sly, "Honey-suck-my-toes".

Not all is jazz however: Ann Hampton Callaway's velvety ode to endurance, You Can't Rush Spring, floats over a rhumba beat, as does Perhaps (Osvaldo Fares), a recording standard by Doris Day. In her original In My Heart I Know, Braun delivers vocals and piano, and in her thoughtful Ocean Eyes, pianist Ted Firth searches meditatively over the keyboard while Brian Czech provides a restless drumbeat.

Braun has clear diction, a vocal hold on the melody and a direction where to send it. As she proves with Cole Porter's classic, You Do Something to Me, she certainly can do something with a song.