Photo Credit: D. Sabella
Josephine Sanges has had a meteoric rise in the world of cabaret, and seemed almost surprised to be performing at The Beach Cafe, which she described as one of the “big rooms.” And indeed, The Beach Cafe has established itself as one of the “places to be” on the upper east-side. The posh, yet cozy, eatery features performance by some of cabaret’s greatest voices every Saturday night. And this Saturday was no different.
Sanges captivated the intimate room with her sheer tone and musical phrasing even more scrumptious than the bill of fare on the menu. Fully poised as she entered the room, she delighted the audience with some original lyrics in the verse of her first song, Twisted (Gray, Ross) – “Why do I do this anyway??!! Spend my life singing cabaret? They said this job was a day at the Beach (get it??!) My lifelong dreams would now be in reach! So, here I am with my great big band (the fabulous John M. Cook!) So, where is the sun, the surf, and the sand??? Still…being here with you makes my life ideal. There’s a feeling of bliss I can hardly conceal! How to describe it? Incandescent!!! Oh, so much better than antidepressants!” – And, with these words, so began a charming and very satisfying evening of music.
John M. Cook offered not only sensational arrangements, but also back-up vocals, in songs like I Hear Music (Lane, Loesser), in a connected trio of songs that also included Breezin’ Along With The Breeze (Whiting, Simmons), and I Talk To The Trees (Lerner, Lowe). And, his arrangement of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies coupled with Sun in The Morning was inspiring.
Of particular note were Sanges’ renditions of Cole Porter’s You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, (sung quietly and so authentically that I could not help but think that Judy Garland would herself be proud) and two beautiful songs by Ann Hampton Callaway, Hip To Be Happy and Perfect, which were performed with the same meticulous care with which they were written. She encored her performance with a hauntingly slow (phrased sentence by sentence to great effect) Fly Me to The Moon (Howard), which, when sung slowly, became a love-note to a very appreciative audience.
Sanges first burst onto the scene in 2014, and since then has been steadily carving out her niche in NY Cabaret. She has been a featured singer at the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Convention, and was the winner of the 2017 Margaret Whiting Award, and the 2018 MAC La Mott Friedman Recording Award. Having seen her perform several times in the last few years, I am delighted to witness the continued development and refinement of Ms. Sanges as a Cabaret (and musical) personality. With the aid of her insightful Director, Jeff Harnar, her connection to lyric, and communication with her audience, has never been better. And her voice, with the clarity of a Streisand, continues to grow and burnish into something both creamy and crystalline. I look forward to what’s in store for Josephine Sanges, and for how this artist will continue to grow.
For more information, and her upcoming schedule please visit https://josephinesanges.com