Like a preacher selecting a Bible quote to inspire his sermon, Kenneth Kamal Scott chose "Here's to Life" as the guide for his celebration of more than 60 years in show business as a dancer, singer, Broadway lead (the title role in The Wiz), and concert soloist, laced with fond and humorous memories from career and family.
...Mr. Scott approached his selections--from a joyful "April in Paris" (Duke/Harburg) to a spare, deeply felt "The Day I Stop Loving You" (Diane Warren)--as if they were are songs, employing his classically trained lyric tenor as a musical instrument to give each a distinctive sound and interpretation.
High points included an evocative "Calling You" (Bob Telson) sung a capella as Mr. Scott entered from offstage, a sly "It Ain't Necessarily So" (the Gershwins), a soft and gentle "I'm Glad There Is You" (Dorsey/Madeira) dedicated to his wife, Etta, and a soulful, proudly bittersweet rendition of his show's title tune, "Here's to Life," performed to Nori Ochiai's simple piano accompaniment.
Mr. Scott graciously ceded the floor to Mr. Ochiai, bassist Scott Colberg, and Charles Goold on drums for solo turns as he tapped along or moved with the music. His pleasure in performing was in full evidence, whether leading the receptive audience in an infectious sing-along of "I Just Called to Say I Love You" (Stevie Wonder) or wringing from his encore, "My Foolish Heart" (Young/Washington), all the fearful hopefulness it possessed.
September 28, 2010