LIVE: Ann Hampton Callaway @ A Place for Jazz, SUNY Schenectady, 06/03/2022

Much of the repertoire of jazz that originated from the 30s to 50s is based upon what is known as the Great American Songbook. Many of these songs came from Broadway musicals and Tin Pan Alley. This was before rock and roll, rhythm, and blues/soul dominated American Pop Culture.  Ann Hampton Callaway sang music from the Great American Songbook at A Place For Jazz’s new home at SUNY Schenectady.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Her vocals and the lyrics of these songs were featured in her performance. Many of these songs are generally heard in the jazz idiom as instrumentals with the lyrics not necessarily known by the listeners.  Expertly accompanied by pianist Matt Baker, Ann Hampton Callaway led us through these songs both by singing and explaining the background of the songs or lyrics. 

For instance, the background of “My Funny Valentine” is a song from “Babes In Arms”, a musical that has been long forgotten. “This Can’t Be Love” is a rather cynical song being sung by America’s then sweetheart and eternal optimist Doris Day.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Not that these performances neglected improvisation or swing. Ann scatted through some of the songs, pantomiming playing a trumpet or trombone at times. Her vocal range was something to marvel at. 

At one point in the performance, asked for phrases from the audience about Schenectady and took to the piano herself to an impromptu song about Schenectady.

It was a nice kick-off to the return of the A Place For Jazz concert series. The remainder of the series will be of instrumentalists with the series returning in the Fall with trombonist Steve Davis on September 9. 

Photo by Rudy Lu

Set List

  • Our Love Is Here To Stay
  • Sweet Embraceable You
  • Face the Music and Dance
  • How Deep Is the Ocean
  • In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington)
  • In a Sentimental Mood ( Duke Ellington)
  • All the Things You Are
  • The Man I Love (Peggy Lee)
  • This Can’t Be Love
  • My Momma Told Me
  • Over the Rainbow
  • From This Moment On

Photo Gallery by Rudy Lu

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