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Rebecca Kilgore: Some Like It Hot

This appealing tribute to the vocal work of Marilyn Monroe at Feinstein's at Loews Regency also showcases the work a superb jazz quartet. logo
Rebecca Kilgore
(© Denyce Weiler)
Vocalist is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of silver screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, as Rebecca Kilgore points out early in her appealing tribute show, Some Like It Hot, now at Feinstein's at Loews Regency. But, as Kilgore also reminds us, even the legendary Irving Berlin thought Monroe's singing voice was "better than all right."

Kilgore's voice is, not surprisingly, better than that. It shares a little bit of the lightness of Monroe's, but is far less breathy and ultimately richer. While Kilgore has a relatively small range, she possesses both a sure sense of swing and the ability to get the heart of a lyric -- two traits that serve her (and the audience) well during her 60-minute set.

What comes through strongest, however, as Kilgore explores Monroe's small oeuvre of recorded work (mostly from her films) -- presented here in chronological order with just a little bit of biographical information -- is the remarkable quality of the songs she was given to present in her career.

The score of Gentleman Prefer Blondes, one should pardon the pun, is a gem: "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," "When Love Goes Wrong, "Bye Bye Baby," and "Little Girl from Little Rock" are each winners; Irving Berlin's "After You Get What You Want" (from There's No Business Like Show Business) is simply delicious; the 1931 standard "I'm Through With Love" (featured in Some Like it Hot) is still unbelievably sad; and Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn's "Incurably Romantic" (from Let's Make Love) undeniably lives up to its title.

These tunes -- and Kilgore's fine renditions of them -- may be the main attractions of the show, but it's worth a visit just to get a taste of the Harry Allen Quartet, who provide consistently superb support. (They are also presenting a once-a-month show on Feinstein's on selected Mondays that I caught last week, and which was supremely entertaining!) In fact, the hottest moment of the whole evening was their instrumental take on "Running Wild" (also featured in Some Like It Hot), in which Allen's tenor saxophone and Rossano Sportiello's brilliant piano playing let loose with such force that staying in one's seat was almost impossible.

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