Shari Lynn continues to be a queen of song, sharing an impeccable repertoire of jazz, standards, and Broadway favorites. She delivers her music with savvy, style, and simplicity, painting pictures of romance or travels, with her disciplined style punctuated with elocution, presentation and some storytelling.
Her performance last night (April 2) at Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace was yet another triumph of artistry in motion. Power with pizzazz.
Standing in-between dependable and versatile musicians John Kolivas (bass) and Jim Howard (piano) and separated from her spectators with Plexiglas panels indicative of the safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic, Shari manages to create moods and moments that play well despite the curtain that provides challenges for singers as more clubs and venues bring live music to audiences.
Opening with “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and ending with a curtain-call “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” she never misses a beat, providing anecdotal insights occasionally as she unveils her song choices.
“Here’s to Life,” a tribute to her late duet partner Jimmy Borges, is sentimental stuff, while “A Tisket, A Tasket” is joyous and timely, a kiddie fave from yesteryear that also has Easter implications. That’s the arc of her appeal
A snappy “On the Sunnyside of the Street,” an oldie now updated on a TV commercial, gives her liberties to change “Rockefeller” In the lyrics to Don Conover, her sometimes keyboarder partner who was in the house. He had another moment, shouting out a response from the audience, during her out-of-the-park “Mama’s Song” rouser from “Gypsy,” with emotional relevance of missed dreams. Everything doesn’t come up roses unless you work hard to achieve goals, so a bouquet of roses for Shari for this one.
But Shari knows how to pick ‘em. “Send in the Clowns,” the Stephen Sondheim signature from “A Little Night Music” is the essence of an actress with a bona fide stage voice that makes the right connection with the spectators.
She also has empathy; like the rest of us, she misses traveling due to the restrictions of Covid-19, so “Let’s Get Away From It All” was panacea for planning a future trek.
Just as her followers who’ve missed her club work here, “I Love Being Here With You” was her declaration of her glee to be chirping again. And she respects her musicians, giving solo and instrumental time (like the Duke Ellington moment) to spotlight their pedigree.
The Medici’s setting, spruced up with faux greenery and blooms, resembles an indoor garden where a singer like Shari can shine in full-bloom glory. Club proprietors Tim and Carolyn Stanton (he’s the chef, she’s the front-of-the-house honcho) also have had to adapt to the times; his imaginative served meals (no more buffets, alas, replaced by set menus from soup to dessert) require additional servers; she has new duties checking temperatures, logging names and monitoring facemasks upon check-in.
Shari returns to Medici’s on May 21.
PHOTOS: Shari solo, Shari with Kolivas on bass, Howard (hidden) on piano.