Deana Martin is such a Daddy's girl that at 63 years of age, the daughter of one of the greatest and most beloved entertainers of the 20th Century, Dean Martin, has spent her post-Papa career cherishing his memory with doe eyed adoration, like entertainers Elektra. And what's wrong with that?
Not a damn thing if her charming, light hearted tribute to Dean and the rest of the Rat Pack is anything to go by. A little overlong at 90 minutes, Deana compensated for her lack of vocal chops with a performance that didn't lag for a moment. She told stories of her famous pop and Uncles Frank and Sammy, told jokes older than the songs she sang, stole lines off Daddy's TV show (which she performed in) and tackled the Great American Songbook with pizzazz to spare.
64 years old last Sunday, the petit Italian singer looks younger than that, she spent a decade of her life selling exercise videos and it shows. As old film clips and pix proves, she hasn't changed that much and performs the set as a child again. Deana opens with "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" and follows up ("You're gonna like this one…" ) with "Volare" and the audience, very money, old even by my standards, approve, singing along to that song. It is a love thing and the atmosphere was just about everything you could hope for, everybody was on her side.
The songs were re-arranged for a four piece band and lost nothing. Lead by Sinatra's old band conductor Vincent Falcone, she shared a seat with Falcone at the piano for a quietly effective "I've Got You Under My Skin", they are perfect pros with Lincoln Millman on bass and Mike Meacham on drums, "Skin" makes three Sinatra songs, an iffy "The Lady Is A Tramp". And "Strangers In The Night" sang, somewhat uncomfortably to her husband, John Griffeth. Indeed from that point on, just about every love song is sung directly at John. It is as if Deana is transferring her attention from one man to another.
Better are two songs with audience members (but not AUDIENCE members, pros in the audience) "Memories Are Made Of This" and a full audience singalong to "That's Amore" . Steve Maglio, who is currently performing at the Carnegie Club with "Sinatra Sings",is fantastic on "That's Amore", a terrific vocalist and a must see. A full voiced guy, more than capable of channeling the greats.
The less said about the "True Love" duet with Papa the better, so let's move on to the wonder of seeing the great Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar. At 86 years of age, Bucky takes two solos and they are a wonder of jazz economy, and a quick lesson in where his son learnt the moves from. Just a joy to watch him.
There is such a thing as karma in this world. And if you want some bad karma fast, be mean to Dino's kid and you will get it in the ear. The truth is, Deana can sing well, her phrasing is fine, she is a natural showwoman and she put on a fine show. And, that, my friends, is amore.