Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, April 27, 2017
Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes
“I’m sorry, that’s not a valid password. Please try your call again later.” That voice you hear just may be Marsha Bartenetti, who segued from a successful singing career (she won the 1980 Best Vocalist in the American Songwriters Association’s International) to the lucrative voiceover market. She was deemed by the press as “The Voice America Loves to Hate” and “The Voice Mail Queen.” She’s solidly back on track with the release of her latest CD …feels like LOVE, which she featured during her Feinstein’s debut.
Bringing along friend and Musical Director Steve Rawlins, Bartenetti’s repertoire includes well-known chestnuts from the Great American Songbook as well as a few modern composers and lyricists. Her arrangements blend in jazz stylings and a pop sensibility that makes for easy listening with her clean, clear phrasing. Examining all facets of love, her set included the hopeful phase with a slow, longing “You Go to My Head” (J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie), the betrayal of Elisse Boyd and Murray Grand’s powerful “Guess Who I Saw Today,” to Arthur Hamilton’s “Cry Me a River.”
The complement of locals David Rokeach on drums, Mike Bordelon on bass, and Danny Brown sax, added to the richness of the sound. Bartenetti related emotionally on Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and these would be her finest vocal deliveries. “Orange Colored Sky,” written by Milton DeLugg and Willie Stein and recorded by Nat King Cole, shows Bartenetti can swing, as does her rendition of Peggy Lee and Dave Cavanaugh’s (with the pen name William Schluger) “I Love Being Here with You.”
Hitting all the bases from swing to light jazz, Bartenetti shines when she makes strong connections to a song. She saved the best for last, closing with the lovely Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke “But Beautiful,” offering it as a love note to her audience. A classy touch from a real pro.