(Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and Produced and Hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)
Kim Nalley at the Rrazz Room. Courtesy Photo.
FIVE GREAT REASONS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH KIM NALLEY
She’s as dramatic as La Boheme … She’s Carmen … She’s remarkable … She’s exhilarating and she’s a Cultural touchstone! AND…SHE SANG THE STIRRING “Mississippi Goddamn!” – and when she sings it – she means it. Also loved “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” – Nalley sang many “Bite your Ass” songs during the evening – but since you will see a different show each night, I won’t mention them all, because you may not hear the same songs that I heard. Different set each night keeps the show fresh for everyone. And that’s the way I like it.
There are songs that seem dark and sad. And then there are the songs that express great love and joy. When you listen to Kim Nalley singing the music of Nina Simone – you’re not only listening, but also are mesmerized. Yes, Nalley may be using ‘witchcraft’ on us. She is simply unlike any artist that I’ve ever heard.
Nalley is at the Rrazz Room for several weeks. She tells the audience: be sure and come back because each night will be a different show with different songs. I looked at the “Set List of songs” and there were over 45 listed. Nalley picks and chooses what she wants to sing each evening. Most of her pieces are from different eras. Most songs that I heard were good blues. Nalley shares the stage with the Band and the Piano Player. They are wonderfully versatile. They are: Tammy Hall, piano – Greg Skaff, guitar – Kent Bryson, drums, Michael Zisman, bass. You can’t get anymore fantastic than them.
This was an evening stacked with exciting music. If you don’t know Nina Simone – then this is the best way to learn about her and her fantastic range of styles. It’s sultry and impeccable Music that comes straight -- from the soul. And the Soul in this case is Kim Nalley, with a voice that is truly out of the ordinary range. And yes, she is sexy too.
DATES: Wed. – June 22, 29 & July 6, 13 * 8pm. Thurs: June 23, 30, & July 7, 14 * 8pm. Fridays: June 17, 24 & July 1, 8, 15 * 8pm. Sat: June 18, 25, & July 2, 9, 16 * 8pm. Sun: June 19, 26 & July 3, 10, 17 *8pm.