By Marilyn Lester, Cabaret Scenes
There’s a certain thrill to be had when emerging young talent comes on the scene. Such was the case with 24-year-old Melinda Rose Rodriguez, making her Birdland debut with original songs and standards. Rodriguez has a clear, bright tone—a quality reminiscent of Jane Monheit, one of her mentors. She’s by no means a Monheit clone. Rodriguez very much brings her own style to the table, which ranges from fairly straightforward pop delivery to a swinging jazz approach marked by exquisite phrasing and scat-ability off the scales. Her renditions of “Taking a Chance on Love” (Vernon Duke, John Latouche, Ted Fetter) and “Honeysuckle Rose” (Fats Waller. Andy Razaf) were prime examples of her abilities in this arena. The former featured a fresh arrangement with Rodriguez accompanied by just bass. Dan Montgomery, a young player of uncommon skill was bass-forward for most of the set, which suited the singer’s style and approach. Full review here.