The event last Saturday night at North Hollywood's Vitello's to raise money for victims of Japan's recent natural disaster was highly successful despite fears of negative attendance impact from the 405 freeway closing., i.e. "Carmageddon." There was a nearly full house and many CDs were sold. Importantly, too, was the level of artistry achieved by the six participating "acts" which included singers Kurt Reichenbach, Diane Hubka, Leslie Lewis (& pianist Gerard Hagen), Michael Dees, Pinky Winters, and Sue Raney. The house band was made up of pianist Jim Cox, bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Ralph Penland. That's a true "first call" outfit if there ever was one!
Each artist performed three or four numbers and so there was much shuffling on and off the stage, but the whole thing ran like clockwork with nary a single hitch. Singer Reichenbach was (his phrase) the "connective tissue", i.e. emcee that held it all together. Each singer was at the peak of his or her powers that night, and if there had been encores built into the format, the evening would have gone on for far longer than its final two hours or so. The audience seemed especially unwilling to let singer Michael Dees leave the stage at the conclusion of his "turn." His Night and Day" nearly blew the roof off the place. I observed the faces of the performers watching their fellow acts on stage and they seemed to be in a constant state of appreciation at what they were experiencing. Nearly every "turn" elicited a standing ovation from the audience, and I don't think I saw a single walk-out during the entire evening.
For more info the From California With Love CD, go here.