Live Music: Ariana Savalas and Kady Zadora at Catalina Bar & Grill

By Tony Gieske

No sooner had I fallen head over heels for Ariana Savalas, daughter of the immortal Telly, than Kady Zadora, daughter of the immortal Pia, came along, and I was felled again.

Ariana Savalas and Kady Zadora

The dewy-eyed singers were debuting their act as a duo at Catalina Bar and Grill on Thursday, and they had been delivering salvo after salvo of good old fashioned heart and soul, not to mention charm and warmth.

“Whoo-eee!” cried Ariana at the close of a romping version of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” She’d sing a line in her sturdy soprano, using diction and intonation and such, as well as a merry spirit. Then Kady would sing a line with childlike conviction and velvety melodiousness — usually right on pitch.

When they harmonized, the kids made you think of a pair of Judy Garlands.  Ariana, who just starred in a movie, handled most of the hoary onstage patter, taking her case to a higher court. Kady, whose film career is just starting, dropped in a few well timed punchlines.

“Take it! Take it” cried Kady as the repertoire began to change from antiques like “For Once in My Life.” “Take a little piece of my heart,” she pleaded, heart rendering the Janis Joplin classic. “Hey, girl!” Ariana cried at the proper moment.

Their “Friendship” was not only a perfect blendship, but a living, breathing Norman Rockwell cover, during which their two part harmony began to ring with authority.  So it was on “Let It Be,” a heaven-bound anthem climbing a white picket fence. This was brought to a suitably churchy ending with a plagal cadence from pianist Jeff Lass, preceded by climactic drumming from Andy Savesi and stern underpinning by bassist Steve Venz.

The cheery chanteuses now sought to bow off, but they had utterly captured the house, and three or four encores left the crowd crying for still more.

Photos by Tony Gieske.

Read and see more of Tony Gieske’s jazz essays and photos at his personal web site tonyspage.com.

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