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John Koprowski Presents "Five Nights that Rocked the World" at Laurie Beechman Theatre's West Bank Café
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John Koprowski Presents "Five Nights that Rocked the World" at Laurie Beechman Theatre's West Bank Café

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner


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Donald Schaeffer Presents:

John Koprowski
www.johnkoprowski.com
Five Nights that Rocked the World
1964-1969

Director: Eric Michael Gillett
Musical Director & Arranger: Tracy Stark
Production Manager: Lindsay Roberts

Tracy Stark on Piano/Vocals
Peter Calo on Guitar
Donna Kelly on Drums
Susan Mitchell on Violin
Owen Yost on Bass
Wendy Russell on Vocals
Cindy Green on Vocals

At
Laurie Beechman Theatre
www.westbankcafe.com
West Bank Café
407 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
212.695.6909

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 22, 2012


Today’s Brunch event at the West Bank Café was rip roaring gorgeous, with John Koprowski singing the songs of the Sixties with his dynamic band. Koprowki gave fascinating and historical information and witticisms about the five featured years, 1964-1969, explaining why certain genres developed and who led the music news, at that time. He and his band brought back Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Mamas and Papas, and then a Medley stretching from the Byrds to Simon & Garfinkel. The songs were each uniquely described, performed, and punctuated with poignancy, especially in view of the cataclysmic events of ’68, the Vietnam War, the draft, and various riots that erupted. Each artist was generously honored, with such warmth and candor, that the music played in my mind for days.

Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine” was enhanced with heavy drums and violin (how sumptuous to add a violin!). Koprowski sang with passion and full mastery of Dylan’s temperament. The Beatles’ “Revolution” and the Mamas and Papas’ “California Dreamin’” were elegantly expanded by the onstage vocal trio. The first Medley, as the 60’s rolled by, included the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” and “Fifth Dimension”, Arlo Guthrie’s “Coming Into Los Angeles”, and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. Koprowski explained the related drug scene and how Rock was changing with the culture. The grateful Dead’s “Ripple” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” followed, and it was obvious that this band was immersed in the moment and genuinely feeling the vibe, along with its fans. The strings, Peter Calo, on guitar, Owen Yost, on bass, and Susan Mitchell, on violin, created stunning surround-sound frills to the vocals and rhythms. Those vocals, by Wendy Russell, Cindy Green, and pianist-music director, Tracy Stark, brought me right into a time warp, with their stirring, energized renditions. Donna Kelly, on drums, added the requisite rhythmic vibration that deepened the mood, so intensely inherent in those turbulent years.

The next Medley included Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”, Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction”, and Country Joe McDonald’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag”. The marching motif, thanks to percussion and bass, was kinetic. The Kinks’ “Lola” followed, then Janis Ian’s “Society’s Child”, with Wendy Russell on solo vocals. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” added gun sound effects, and the Café crowd was visibly drawn in. It was clear that Tracy Stark, at piano, who directed the ensemble with aplomb, loved the musical repertoire. In fact, all the musicians were truly enjoying the event. The final Medley included Credence Clearwater’s “Bad Moon Rising”, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”, and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”, all sung with fervor and great timing. Koprowski ended the event with Jimi Hendrix’ “All Along the Watchtower”, Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn”, and the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends”. The Hendrix piece was embellished with stage lighting shifts and wild abandon. Koprowski created a phenomenal show for today’s diverse audience, some of whom were shaped, themselves, with the music and history honored today. Kudos to all.



John Koprowski and His Band (l-r):
Tracy Stark (Arranger/Piano/Vocals),
Wendy Russell (Vocals), Cindy Green (Vocals),
Owen Yost (Bass), Donna Kelly (Drums),
Peter Calo (Guitar), Susan Mitchell (Violin),
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Susan Mitchell on Violin
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Tracy Stark on Piano, John Koprowski,
Cindy Green on Vocals
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Owen Yost on Bass, Donna Kelly on Drums
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



John Koprowski, Cindy Green
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Cindy Green, Owen Yost
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Wendy Russell on Vocals
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



Tracy Stark, John Koprowski
at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net