Expressions: A Celebration of Voices in African-American Music

Expressions: A Celebration of Voices in African-American Music

Featuring Maria Olivia Bryan

Winter Park Playhouse

In this second soul-driven cabaret, I notice something: There are a lot fewer musical numbers here than in the more pop and Broadway shows we usually see. It’s not catchy hooks and romance-based lyrics tonight; but rather more of a jazz improvisation underlining the strong vocals Ms. Bryan presents. The band leads off with a long jazzy sequence, interspersed with bits of poetry and applause. Once Ms. Bryan takes the mike, we waft back to the glory days of modern jazz; songs from Oleta Adams and Etta James intertwine with Marvin Gaye and Cee-Lo Green. The songs flow as Ms. Bryan steers us through the joys and myseries of Jazz, and at the end of the evening, the venue gently points out that while we needn’t go home, we can no longer stay here. Some of this staff here still hold those dreaded day jobs.

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