Angela Allen

Tony Starlight

A Day In the Nightlife: Tony Starlight’s Supper Club

Oregon Music News Review of Tony Starlight's Supper Club

Originally published on Oregon Music News August 10, 2010

Tony Starlight’s Supperclub & Lounge, 3728 N.E. Sandy Blvd., hunkers down in a fitting location — Hollywood. The one in Portland, not the place with the big sign on the hill near LA.

Nee and aka Brett Kucera, Tony Starlight opened his namesake place in January 2007, determined to bring Portland a nostalgic entertainment venue it didn’t have. Not a jazz club, a New York City-style piano bar, high-end resto, nor a concert hall, his room would be a supper club with a variety show, starring himself as Dino, Tom Jones, Frankie, Neil Diamond and made-up characters. He’d make people laugh, connect with the audience, get to know the community — at least the ones who showed up at his nightclub.

What’s odd is that by now the club has become all of those things. Read More

Review of Seattle Opera’s “Amelia”

Seattle's world premiere "Amelia" takes off with grace

Originally published on Concertonet.com, May 31, 2010

Seattle Opera lacked a crucial element since lauded general director Speight Jenkins has run the show for 27 years. Until now, he has never commissioned an opera.

With Amelia, which made its elaborate two-hour world premiere in May, operagoers should have even firmer confidence in Jenkins' vision. Beginning in 2002, when he sorted through contemporary composers' works with director Stephen Wadsworth, settling on Daron Aric Hagen's music, he never looked back from his original intention to make an American opera with American themes. Read More

Beach sings in sweet Portuguese

Oregon Music News CD review of "Brasil Beat"

Originally published on Oregon Music News, May 31, 2010

Lucky for us, Bill Beach rose from the dead Benson Hotel's basement and went to Brazil.
This spring the pianist released his energetic Brasil Beat (yes, Brazilians spell it that way) on his label, Axial Records. Six of the 12 tracks feature Beach's breathy baritone-bass shaping original Portuguese lyrics. Cross-checked with Portuguese linguists, the lyrics are precisely articulated and beautifully phrased. Beach is a stickler for details and authenticity, as relaxed as his vocals sound. Read More

Portland’s Darwish is pushing music forward

Oregon Music News Review of Silverton Wine & Jazz Fest musicians

Originally published on Oregon Music News, May 9, 2010

Portlander Ben Darwish and his quartet stepped it up a notch at the caramel-corn-scented Palace Theater as part of the Silverton Wine & Jazz Festival. If you missed this gig, you lost out on the most innovative of the day, though certainly the sexy mid-century couple of bass genius Glen Moore and the inimitable crooner/scatter/partner Nancy King, accompanied by pianist Dan Gaynor, attracted a way bigger crowd later in the evening. Read More

Omar Sosa

Omar Sosa review

Sosa's Afreecanos energize Jimmy Mak's

Originally published on Oregon Music News, April 18, 2010

OK. Dr. Lonnie Smith and Gil Scott-Heron, even Nicholas Payton, reaped the lion's share of publicity for the Soul'd Out Music Festival continuing through this week in Portland. Read More

Portland Opera review: Cosi

`Cosi' delivers flawless chemistry

Originally published in Concertonet.com, Feb. 7, 2010

Mozart's music, as singers say, is medicine for the voice. Light, lyric, and a century ahead of its time with its compositional cohesiveness, the maestro's melodies shaped a full-throttle comedic "Cosi" in Portland. Read More

Oregon Symphony review: Max Raabe

Max Raabe: sauve, sophisticated, hard to pin down

Originally published on Northwest Reverb, Feb. 25, 2010

In patent-leather shoes and tails, every hair slicked into place, Max Raabe led two hours of wit, elegance and impeccably presented music from the '20s and '30s at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Read More

Portland Jazz Festival and Oregon Symphony review: Dianne Reeves

Reeves’ Vaughan-like performance seals her reputation

Originally published on Northwest Reverb (northwestreverb.blogspot.com), Feb. 16, 2009

Just when you think a Valentine’s date with the Oregon Symphony and glamorous jazz singer Dianne Reeves is shaping up to be utterly predictable and sentimental, the night throws in a few surprises. Read More

Terence Blanchard review

Terence Blanchard and the Portland Jazz Orchestra team up for fabulous concert

Originally published on Northwest Reverb (NorthwestReverb.blogspot.com), Feb. 14, 2009

When Terence Blanchard, trumpet in hand, asked the Arlene Schnitzer audience to chime in on a chorus of  “A Tale of God’s Will,” bassist Derrick Hodge smiled sweetly.There was little chance that the audience, as ardent as it was, could capture the deep emotion that New Orleans’ Blanchard did when he composed this music based on his hometown’s tragedy. Bets are, “A Tale of God’s Will” will stick around in the archives for years. Portlanders were truly lucky to hear it. Read More