Adi Braun's Defining Moment

Adi Braun @ The Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club

Riveting Riffs
August 22, 2008
Joe Montagus


On the weekend of August 22 – 23rd jazz fans at the Cellar Restaurant / Jazz Club, discovered what audiences in Toronto and New York City, have known for a while now, and that is Canada has once again produced a world caliber jazz vocalist, arranger and composer, this time, in the person of Adi Braun.

Although technically flawless in her vocal presentation, it is Braun's ability to reflect passion, sass and flirtatiousness in songs such as, "That Old Black Magic," Cy Coleman's, "Witchcraft," and "That Ole Devil Called Love," that endeared her to the Cellar crowd. All three songs appear on her current CD Live At The Metropolitan Room, recorded in the infamous New York City venue. She was accompanied by one of Canada's top and more emotive bassists Jodi Proznick and elegant pianist Tilden Webb.

Prior to releasing Live At The Metropolitan Room, Braun introduced us to her music, through the albums, Delishious (2003) and Rules of the Game, released in 2005.

More of Braun's repertoire leans toward standards, with a sprinkling of cabaret tunes such as Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," in which she takes some poetic license with her adaptation of one line of the lyrics. Proznick served up another evocative bass solo and Braun gifted us with whistling the bridge.

Despite our earlier reference to Braun's penchant for standards, she demonstrated clearly that she can swing, while serving up a great rendition of Dorothy Fields' "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." The song also featured one of pianist Webb's finer moments as he delivered a spectacular solo.

Braun opened her second set with the 1937 show tune, "The Lady Is A Tramp," composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the musical Babes In Arms, and followed it up with, "Five Will Get You Ten."

The most stirring and emotionally charged moment of Braun's concert came during her powerful performance of Consuelo Velásquez's, "Besame Mucho." The song's title has been translated to mean, "Kiss Me A Lot," or "Kiss Me Much," and Braun, with only a bass accompaniment, presented a stripped down, vulnerable interpretation of this romantic tune, which would prompt anyone in love, to turn to their significant other and share a tender kiss. More than any other song that she performed on this evening, Braun's deliverance of, "Besame Mucho," defined her as an intensely emotive artist, who evokes a strong emotional response from the listener.

Throughout her concert, Braun paid tribute to some of America's greatest composers, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington ("I Got It Bad and Bad Ain't Good") and Quincy Jones.

Reviewed August 22nd, 2008

Riveting Riffs wishes to thank the management of The Cellar Restaurant / Jazz Club for making it possible for Riveting Riffs to review this concert