The number is the final stop on West's dizzying eclectic musical journey, an evening of so many stylistic hairpin curves that it could cause a less accomplished artist than West to lose control. But it's always been this dazzling vocalist's hallmark to not just encompass a century's worth of music in one show, but to fully immerse herself in each song while maintaining her own singular jazz-pop style.
West showcased her gifts right off the bat with a gently swinging version of "Something Good" (from the film version of The Sound of Music) that manages to eliminate the lyrics' treacly sentiment. She had a great deal of fun with her second number, "The Goodbye Song," which she found on a Pearl Bailey record, though a slight case of opening night jitters caused her to look at her lyric sheet more than once.
But she was completely in charge with a rather somber and truly haunting take on the Nat King Cole standard "Nature Boy," which was inspired by a recent trip to Turkey. That song was followed by a truly joyful version of Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" that only the audience's restraint kept from turning into a singalong.
Few singers navigate the waters from pop to standards and back again as smoothly as West. She gave necessary gravitas to Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello's dirge-like "That Day Is Done" and continued her exploration into the work of Bob Dylan with a very smartly sung rendition of "Don't Think Twice It's Alright." West also fully committed to Mesterhazy's too-spare arrangement of Brian Wilson's "God Only Knows," which sadly robbed the song of its ethereal beauty.
On the other hand, West truly dazzled with a trio of older songs, the exuberant "Miss Brown to You," the tongue-twisting "Crazy Rhythm," and most of all, a marvelously full-bodied "Isn't It Romantic," including some of the standard's lesser-known verses. Not surprisingly, the number earned some of the evening's loudest -- and most well-deserved -- applause.
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