Jazz Singer Not Shy In Letting Voice Soar

Hamilton Spectator
April 2004
Leonard Turnevicius

Will someone teach Adi Braun how to use a microphone? "I'm a natural blond," the brunette Braun proclaimed self-deprecatingly, after discovering the microphone's mute button before launching into her jazz concert with the Ron Davis Trio at Hillfield-Strathallan College's Artsplex.

For a moment, it seemed the daughter of the late opera star Victor Braun and sister of Russell Braun (who appears in every notable opera house from Salzburg to San Diego) would have to rely on her formative classical vocal training and sing unplugged.

She's no female Thomas Hampson singing Cole Porter's songbook. Braun has left classical singing behind. Think Ernestine Anderson, Shirley Horn, Judy Garland and you get the idea.

Braun has the pipes and she sure lets you hear them. Especially on those long high notes with that microphone, oh so close to her mouth.

She cruised through standards Witchcraft, Night and day and When in Rome. In Honeysuckle Rose she humorously added the lame come-on "Honey, suck my toes," while we heard of Dr. Atkins and eating cake in The Lady is A Tramp.

Braun displayed her affinity for Shirley Eikhard's songbook with tunes like Desperately, Mr. Charm and Crazy from The Heat. I enjoyed Braun the most in the Gershwins' vivacious Delishious and Kurt Weill's melancholy Lonely House. Perhaps including some French tunes would have given her an opportunity to display different colours and vocal stylings.

Ron Davis was a solid collaborator on piano. He provided a pretty solo for If We Had Never Met after a hushed, pre-tune discussion onstage with Braun. Davis also arranged some of the evening's book, though most of the charts were Brian Dickinson's.

Drummer Stich Wynston's intro to Old Devil Moon was a one-man train wreck. When he finally got back on track, he was too busy reading the notes on his music stand to listen to Drew Birston's bass solo or dialogue with Davis's soft comping.

The show began 15 minutes late. A preconcert reception honouring Suzanne Shulman's 23 years of spearheading this concert series ran over time in another room and kept a portion of the audience in patient limbo.