CABARET FESTIVAL – Cassandra Wilson – 2K

SMA Kryztoff banner May 13 100dpi2013 Cab LogoBy Peter Maddern

Wow, what a disappointment!

The person dubbed by Time magazine as America’s best signer brought to the Playhouse stage her sextet of most accomplished musicians and her all inclusive show style allowed them to dominate proceedings while she interjected and intermixed her occasionally delicious voice and intimations from time to time.

However, Ms Wilson seemed all rather disconnected from the whole performance, the banter with the audience was banal bordering on dazed and for large portions of the event she performed while sitting down. Add to that some erratic sound mixing and one had to wonder exactly what all the fuss was about – has the lady left her finest moments some way behind.

There is no doubting the range of her repertoire and we got lovely renditions of The Last Train To Clarksville and The Wichita Linesman but the absence of any attempt at an encore left a somewhat hollow feel.

The show, in a minimised sense reminded me of recent performances by Herbie Hancock. But there, the thrill is to witness a fine musician – player and composer – tease out, highlight and then surrender melodies and instruments and pace and rhythms. Nobody goes to his shows to see and hear him sing.  Such is not the case for this headline act for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

While some stood in appreciation at the show’s abrupt conclusion, as many had already declared it all a wasted night and moved on. This wasn’t cabaret and not much of a show and for those who paid the full tote odds $80 a seat, I suspect it was a terribly underwhelming emotion that came to them as they trudged their way back to their cars.

Kryztoff Rating   2K

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