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Paulanne Simmons

Carole J. Bufford Sings About Body & Soul

"Body & Soul"
Carole J. Bufford
Metropolitan Room
34 West 22 Street
Jan. 16 & 23 at 9:30pm, Feb. 6 &13 at 7pm, Feb. 20 at 9:30pm and Feb. 27 at 7pm
$20 music charge and 2 drink minimum
Reservations: (212) 206-0440 or www.metropolitanroom.com
Reviewed By Paulanne Simmons Jan.16, 2013

Carole J. Bufford

In her new show at The Metropolitan Room, “”Body & Soul,” Carole J. Bufford walks onto the stage in a slinky, sexy and sparkling sheath. But that’s not all that sparkles. With her powerful and at times deeply emotional delivery, Bufford is like fireworks on the fourth of July.

The songs, she says, deal with those “emotions that consume body and soul,” in other words need, desire, lust, rage, revenge and despair, which just about covers most everything worth singing about. So backed by Ian Herman (also the arranger and musical director) on piano and Matt Wigton on upright bass, Bufford sings many of the songs that stir our soul and make our body tingle.

The oldest song in the repertoire, written by Charles Warfield (who claimed he wrote the song by himself) and Clarence Williams, is “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home,” the first hit version of which was Bessie Smith’s 1923 recording. The youngest is last year’s “Fade Into You,” by Trevor Rosen,Shane McAnally and Matt Jenkins. The rest of the songs present a fair sampling of what composers and lyricists have been saying about the subject for the intervening years.

There are lighthearted songs like “Goody Goody” paired with the more somber “I Wanna Be Around.” And there’s down and dirty blues like “Low, Short and Squatty” and the sophistication of Cole Porter in “What Is This Thing Called Love?”

But most of all, there’s Bufford, an extraordinary artist who manages to create an image that’s a spicy mixture of innocence and sass. Even when she sings of regret, we know she had a great time doing what she did before she began regretting it.

Bufford has appeared in many shows that, like this one, were produced by Scott Siegel, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, “Broadway by the Year” concerts and “11 O’Clock Numbers at 11 O’Clock” at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, as well as her solo show “Speak Easy,” also at The Metropolitan Room. Her performances consistently prove she is quickly becoming one of the brightest stars in the galaxy of cabaret performers.

“Body & Soul” provides more than an opportunity to see Bufford at her best. It is the kind of show that keeps old standards alive while creating new standards. This is what keeps cabaret strong.

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