By Don Heckman
Bel Air, CA. Deana Martin was back at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. Sunday night. And it was a welcome event for fans of the sort of warm, engaging musical entertainment associated with her father, Dean Martin, and his Rat Pack pals.
No wonder every table at Vibrato was filled.
Raised in an environment that exposed her to some of the most gifted popular music artists of the ’50s and ’60s, Deana has matured into a musical performer fully capable of following in the footsteps of such masterful artists and entertainers as the men she called “Uncle” Frank Sinatra and “Uncle” Sammy Davis, Jr., along with Joey Bishop, Judy Garland and Peter Lawford.
That’s a stellar list of names. But Deana Martin has thoroughly established her full-fledged ability to follow in their footsteps.
I’ve seen Deana several times, and had the pleasure of reviewing her performances in a variety of settings. Each of those appearances has been memorable. As was her Sunday presentation at Vibrato.
Once again, the performance began with a video introduction of his daughter by Dean Martin.
What followed was a program of songs associated with her father and other Rat Pack members.
Most of the titles were amply familiar to fans of Martin (especially) and Sinatra. Songs such as “Ain’t That A Kick in the Head,” “Memories,” “Destination Moon” (done via an electronic duet with her father), “Memories Are Made of This,” “Everybody Loves Somebody” and Italian songs such as “That’s Amore” and “Volare.”
Add to that more far-ranging titles, including “I Love Being Here With You,” “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Miss Otis Regrets.”
That’s a group of songs that would challenge the skills of most artists in the contemporary pop music world. And Deana handled it with an illuminating blend of musicality and interpretive skill.
Singing songs associated with some of the most iconic figures in American popular music is a challenge daunting enough to intimidate most vocalists.
But not Deana Martin. Her performance captivated the dynamic energy associated with her Dad and the Rat Pack, while enhancing it with her own non-stop creative electricity. Interacting with her audience, which was filled with fans and other showbiz celebrities, she transformed Vibrato, with its enthusiastic, full house audience, into a virtual living room performance.
She was superbly backed by a band sparkling with L.A.’s finest players, including bassist Chuck Berghofer (who managed to insert his classic bass line when Deana took on Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”), guitarist John Chiodini and drummer Kendall Kay.
Call it another winner for Deana Martin. I would willingly wager that most of her Vibrato audience members (including this one) will eagerly return for her next L.A. Performance. And with good reason. So if you haven’t as yet had the good fortune to experience her in action, don’t miss her next Southland appearance.
Click HERE to check Deana Martin’s future schedule.