Patti Wenzel

Holidays at a Parisian cafe

By - Dec 7th, 2009 09:00 am
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Robin Pluer puts her own twist on Edith Piaf

Robin Pluer puts her own twist on Edith Piaf.

The winds blew cold from the west, but inside Robin Pluer warmed things up with an eclectic mix of French torch songs, holiday jazz and blues. Joined by longtime collaborators Juli Wood and Mrs. Fun, along with special guest guitarist Peter Roller, Pluer’s expansive vocals filled the performance hall at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music  for the Festive Soiree with Robin Pluer this past weekend.

The hall was set with small tables and chairs, allowing the audience to chat and enjoy a glass of wine as the tight rhythms of Mrs. Fun (Connie Grauer on piano and Kim Zick on Ddums) joined Pluer in two French ballads. The trio was then joined by Roller and Wood (on tenor sax) on the holiday classic, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Pluer was electric in a feathered dress topped with a swirl of black and white haberdashery. But her costume could never outshine her voice that moved effortlessly between classic Edith Piaf, classic Civil Rights-era gospel and bluesy cabaret tunes.

Wood has the chops to wail on the sax, but when she puts down the horn and sings, the audience saw right into her jazzy/bluesy soul. A jazz version of “On the Street Where You Live”  thrilled, while Wood’s bluesy “Merry Christmas, Baby” gave Pluer a foil to duet.

Juli Wood (right) and Robin Pluer double up on vocals

Juli Wood (right) and Robin Pluer double up on vocals.

The night finished with Pluer donning her trademark accordian to perform Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.” The sultry love song grew into a hurdy-gurdy that was a perfect ending to the night, allowing all of the performers to showcase their considerable talents. The ensemble was in such a groove by the final chorus that a woman in the audience left her chair and proceeded to do a “bottle dance” at the foot of the stage.

It was a hot ending to a cool night in a warm Parisian café.

Categories: Classical

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