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Ute Lemper in A Walk on the Weill Side

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Ute Lemper in A Walk on the Weill Side
(Ute Lemper Website) and (Kurt Weill Foundation)
Vana Gierig on Piano, Mark Lambert on Guitar,
Gregory Jones on Bass, Todd Turkisher on Drums
Café Carlyle
(Carlyle Website)
Madison Avenue at 76th Street
NY, NY 10021
Tony Skrelja, Manager

Press Representative: OPR/Origlio Public Relations/Richard Hillman

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 17, 2005

In a lush setting, with murals of horses, ballerinas, deer, mother and child, and violins, Ute Lemper entertained on Thursdays’ Kurt Weill night, during her run at Café Carlyle. Ms. Lemper, a quintessential torch singer in a black and burgundy gown, switched from English to German and back again, throughout the evening, interspersing accented anecdotes about Weill and wife, Lotte Lenya, in 1918 Berlin and, in later years, New York, with sultry songs. Ms. Lemper seemed most at home, with added theatricality, in the German style. Ms. Lemper taught the audience a bit about Bertold Brecht and The Threepenny Opera, as she proceeded through German repertoire from Berlin, plus later Weill compositions from France and New York.

Vana Gierig on piano (See Vana Gierig’s CD Review), Mark Lambert on guitar, Gregory Jones on bass, and Todd Turkisher on drums all accompanied this rapturous chanteuse with elegance and attention to Ms. Lemper’s ever-changing timing and mood. Sometimes the band’s music seemed classical, while Ms. Lemper crooned above piano and bass. Her deep, flawless voice emanated, under dewy eyes opened wide. Gierig was quite comfortable with this historical German music, and the band even whistled for a while.

Even in songs about death, Ms. Lemper kept the momentum and magic eerily flowing. Sometimes, Gierig’s keys were a soft addition to a story or song, and sometimes Lambert’s guitar reinforced rhythm and tone. Rapid fire German was a constant surprise, with Turkisher’s drums, Jones’ bass, and Lambert’s guitar holding their own in ensemble or solo passages. One of my favorites, sung in English, was September Song, book-ended by the band with one of Eric Satie’s Gymnopédies, and Ms. Lemper’s vocal range was without limitations. At one point, Ms. Lemper sang the title music from Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with lyrics in French, German, English, and then German again.

Ms. Lemper proceeded with poignant anecdotes about Kurt Weill in WWII, before she crooned, One Touch of Venus and a song about being A Stranger Here Myself. Weill and Lenya were a rare couple, and Ms. Lemper seemed to relate to their plight and passion. She sang related poetry, as her voice faded into the darkness. As a finale, Ms. Lemper belted out Poor Jenny, from a Weill/Gershwin collaboration. I eagerly look forward to my next visit to the sumptuous Café Carlyle. You can check out The Carlyle Website for a schedule of upcoming performers and dates. Tell Tony, the Café Manager, you saw him on

Photo courtesy of Frank Massey

Band at Leisure
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Band with Tony Skrelja, Café Carlyle Manager
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Café Carlyle Guest
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at