By Linda Amiel Burns
Jazz Crooner Allan Harris opened in "Just Me" at The Metropolitan Room on April 5th to a packed house of fans. He is a talented jazz vocalist, producer, composer, guitarist, and three-time winner of the NY Nightlife Award for “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist.”
A critic wrote that Allen “projects the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King’ Cole.” All this was certainly in evidence at his show “Just Me,” an eclectic evening of standards and many songs by Harris himself. The musicians that he surrounded himself with were first class: Dan Kaufman on piano, Paul Beaudry on bass, Jerone Jennings on drums and special guest, Alan Grubner who made his violin sing.
Harris opened with a swinging “On The Street Where You Live” (Lerner & Loewe) followed by the lovely Charles DeForest tune “When Will The Bells Ring For me?” His singing and patter are both effortless and since he is having fun on the stage, so is the audience. In a tribute to Billy Eckstein he sang the moving “A Cottage For Sale” – a gem that is not often sung in cabaret acts. Harris is the composer of a new musical “Cross That River” that was part of the NY Musical Theatre Festival and he performed several songs from that show, “Blue Was Angry”, “Cross That River” and “High on a Hill.” He is also a superb guitarist and so comfortable on stage that when his instrument was giving him feedback, he casually asked the stage manager to get him another one. One of the highpoints of the show, was his dramatic and well-acted rendition of “Bring Him Home (from Les Miserable) where he could use his rich baritone voice. He closed with his anthem to America “I Do Believe” and gave every audience member a signed copy of that song to bring home.
Try to catch Allan Harris at The Metropolitan Room on Monday nights through June. The entire show is a treat from beginning to end, great musicians, fine arrangements with Harris’ expert singing and charming manner. On May 8th Allen Harris will be appearing at the annual Songwriter Showcase of The NY Sheet Music Society (www.NYSMS.org) at the Musicians Hall of Local 802 (322 West 48th Street). I am President of that organization and happy that Allan Harris and many fine composers will feature their songs.