Styling retro-singer Jennifer Keith doesn’t just look the part — although she really looks the part! With her full-skirted, fifties dress, flowers in her hair like Billie Holiday, she echos the vintage ‘girl’ singer of the big band and swing era.
But she delivers too. Keith and her boys, a swinging sextet under the leadership of saxophonist Mando Durame, recently rocked Herb Alpert’s swank supperclub, Vibrato, off Mulholland Drive so much so that management invited her for a regular monthly gig in the acoustics-awesome nightclub.
Everything looks and sounds better in Vibrato. Yes, it can be a costly night out. There’s a cover charge at the tables and you’re paying a premium for the pleasure of an old-school dinner show. The food and service are both very good; be prepared for a $14 glass of wine.
Keith and her band delivers two hard-driving sets over the course of the evening, traversing a wide-ranging song list that opens with laid-back cocktail patois (“Just Squeeze Me”); to schmaltzy love songs (“Dream of You”); to mid-tempo anthems (“Our Day Will Come,” “You and the Night and the Music”) and climbs the heights of hard rockabilly (“Two Hearts”). I really liked the boogie-woogie beat replete with call and response from the band. There’s a Louis Prima – Keeley Smith vibe to the act — and any girl singer who has a jones for “Put the Blame on Mame” is all right by me.
Keith, by the way, comes from a bloodline of entertainers that began with her great great grandfather, the vaudevillian B.F. Keith, the theater producer who put the “K” in RKO Pictures.
Jennifer Keith Sextet | Vibrato Grill | April 20, May 19, June 21