Blues in Black

Rev. Mary and her all-man band appear at NYC’s premier cabaret theater for a special ONE-NIGHT-ONLY performance: Rev. Mary is The Lady in Black

Singer and performance artist, Mary Elizabeth Micari sings from her soul with a group of vintage noir-in-style tunes woven together with a revealing tale of a woman’s journey to find herself. Some of these rare and fascinating tunes have not been heard live in more than a century.

Ms. Micari – as Rev. Mary – is joined by jazz pianist, Dan Furman, guitarist Alan Lighty, and drummer John Dinello (Mr. Dinello is a current cast member of HBO’s series, The Deuce). We spoke with the teram of talented musicians after a rehearsal the other night and here’s what they had to say.

 

FB_IMG_1527611767006.jpgAlan Lighty

Give us a paragraph on the Life of a Musician in NYC. 
NYC is the center of the artistic world and the caliber of artists this city churns out is simply incredible. Its more about getting the chance to perform with fellow artists for me. The music scene is as vibrant as ever, there is only one Broadway and the blues tradition is alive and well. Its my personal goal to keep the country blues guitar style alive through performance, teaching and never ending practice.
Is interpretation of a song piece a collaborative effort? If so, how? If not, how does it work? 
For this particular performance it was 100% a collaboration, its all based around Mary’s vocals and Dan’s musical direction. Its more a matter of becoming comfortable with the songs in the specific keys that suit Mary’s voice and as always its about making music, not just playing whats in front of you.

What’s next for you? 
I’m looking forward to the release of my new CD of 9 original song that I composed over the past year.

John Dinello – Drummer and tough guy on HBO’s The Deuce

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As a single parent my drums and acting must always take a back seat to my daughter’s needs. Like everyone else…..I have my good days and bad days. I try to get out to Jersey once a week to play in fusion/rock band. Now this gig with Mary seems to be working out well. I have known Mary a long time and she is so talented. Dan is a professional keyboard player and I take my cues from him. I’m still adapting to the music as we are progressing. As a drummer I try to flexible to the genre we are working in.

A frequent flyer to our site over these last few months is pianist and composer Dan Furman, who scored acclaim with IMPOSSIBLE BUT TRUE, his new musical and his ongoing collaboration with Rev. Mary.

 

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Give us a paragraph on the Life of a Musician in NYC. 

I enjoy playing the piano and I get a lot of opportunities in NYC.  No, I don’t make a lot of money doing it, but it’s enough to get by.  I work playing jazz when I can.  I work with a lot of singers who are putting together cabaret or theater shows.  And I play at a number of schools around town, including the Lee Strasberg Institute, AMDA, Fordham University, and the Eric Michael Gillett Collective.  My favorite thing is writing music.

Is interpretation of a song piece a collaborative effort? If so, how? If not, how does it work? 

Mary has a story to tell in this show, so what we do is tailored to the needs of that story.  But we did develop the arrangements together in rehearsal once Mary brought in the songs.

What’s next for you? 

This summer I am playing in a jazz vespers program at Church of Heavenly Rest on the upper eastside every Sunday in June and July at 5pm.  I am continuing work on three musicals that I have more or less completed (there is always more work to be done!).  I hope to be organizing new productions of these soon. And I’ll be appearing with my jazz trio at Cleopatra’s Needle in Manhattan on August 24, from 8-12pm.

And finally, the Lady in Black – Rev. Mary, herself.

 

 

Lady in Black final card z.jpg

 

Give us a paragraph on the Life of a Musician in NYC. 

I sing, and I think that’s being a musician, especially after the years of training I have had in music including 15 years of singing and studying Opera! I know that as a singer life in NYC is tricky. Its hard for us to get hooked up to a good band or trio if we are doing Jazz or Blues and its hard to be on one’s own out there. I see from the musicians I sing with that they are constantly moving to make a buck. There is no saying NO to money or any gig that pays. Sometimes it’s a gig that’s way below their experience or skill.  Still, they do it.  So many strive to only work as musicians because as many feel, they are what they make their money at and dragging pianos, basses, drums and guitars from place to place to get the rent money together is more important than sitting behind a desk.  I do my own shows…always. I create them, market them and sing in them. I have been able to create my own so it’s a bit easier for me.  Some of my musicians are composers as well and they do spend tons of time writing and promoting that work as well as getting it performed.

Is interpretation of a song piece a collaborative effort? If so, how? If not, how does it work? 

Coming at this question as a singer I can say that it can be collaborative. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes one person has the vision of the sound or the meaning behind a song and they lead. Sometimes, yes, it is a collaborative effort. In this group and in my other work I like to collaborate. Not all of what we come up with is good, but I’d prefer to hear ideas. I don’t like to dictate anyone’s creativity. Sometimes, as the lead of a group that causes me grief as some musicians see that as a weakness, as I have been told by some.  Still, I will take the grief of dealing with a big headed, pushy diva or divo over constricting anyone.  Better yet, if you give people freedom to create and they blossom into a foul, bossy person…good bye but if they bring you all their goods and make your work soar…its worth any risk. In this case, again with this group I feel its easy to be free and create on our feet, even in front of the audience.  They are all so talented!

I hear this one has an autobiographical slant. What have you learned about yourself in doing this? 

I have learned that I do not like to be exposed but I will do it for my audience and myself as an artist. This is a tricky subject and it exposes me as a young, foolish romantic which I never thought I was and shows my addiction to love and sex. Just like my father. Its hard to admit and its hard to show people but I know we grow by risking and so I will. 

I also have learned a lot about my voice and its changes as I age into different styles and how it is used now. 

I learned that my younger self…she…was not doing as well as she might have been. Totally unable to focus her life and her heart.  I like looking at her.  I can now heal her even more.

 What’s next for you? 

I continue to do Granny’s Blue-Mers Bawdy Blues Booze and Burlesque around Town and for not at Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn once a month.  This act will hopefully play again at Don’t Tell Mama and then I will see if we can get play at bars and lounges in the NYC area.  I will be starting a couple more acts in the Fall. One about Cannabis, all songs from the 1910-1950 era before the drug laws hit and it was still legal or ignore. Its called “I’m So High” Also, an act called “Flirtations”, same era but instead of all sad songs like this one they will be sweet, romantic things about love! Then I want to do something I call “Wigged Out” about my experiences behind the chair in Broadway theaters.  I will be singing songs from all the shows I worked on.

Saturday, June 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
The Brick Room of Don’t Tell Mama cabaret theater
343 West 46th Street, NYC

Tickets $15 ($10 for MAC & M Center members)
Please reserve your seats at 
donttellmamanyc.com

 

and don’t miss the next Blues & Burlesque night of Rev. Mary! 

GRANNY JUNE

 

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