Courtenay Day

Women of Various Notes

There are so many accomplished performers in cabaret today who are woefully not receiving sufficient attention for their expertise that it's not uncommon to encounter perfect evenings. Courtenay Day's recent show at Danny's Skylight Room is an example.

Day, like the Doris with whom she shares a surname, has a light mezzo and the ability to give herself over to darker moods when necessary. She did just that on Michael Holland's little beauty, "The Gas Man," and "Take It with Me," a beauty Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan penned. She exhibited the cheer and chirrup in her voice on Steven Lutvak's "I Just Wanted You to Know." Dropping those contemporary songwriters into a lineup also featuring the Ogden Nash-Kurt Weill "I'm a Stranger Here Myself' and the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe "How to Handle a Woman," she made the subtle point that singers wanting to examine newer chapters in the American Songbook have plenty to choose from.

A perhaps unintentional advocate of architect Mies van der Rohe's observation that less is more, Day makes the architecture of her program all but invisible, and yet there is an effortless build to it. Nicely done but never overdone.