The Spotted Cat
Linnzi Zaorski and Delta Royale
January 13, 2004
There was a visible haze of cigarette smoke and disdain inside The Spotted Cat on Tuesday night. Vocalist Linnzi Zaorksi tried to waft it out the door, and she used trumpeter Charlie Fadella as a booster to turn the fan on high. Still, it remained.
Most of the smoke and bad vibes came from a group at the window table who were their best to drown out the band. When one of the troublemakers asked the acoustic group to “turn it up,” the tension in the room shot up a couple notches. Luckily, Zaorski had a way with words. “If we’re too loud and you can’t hear each other talk, tell us and we’ll turn it down.” Even though the band had been solid up until this point, they seemed to get more relevant, maybe just on justice alone.
Zaorksi and Delta Royale needed an intimate setting in order to perform well. Out of their traditional vocal jazz ballads comes a reserved, sensual sound full of slow grooves.
Zaorski was backed by Fadella, violinist Matt Rody, bassist Robert Snow and guitarist Sera Venet. Half of this crew normally plays with the Jazz Vipers, but Zaorski’s music was something to purposefully fall asleep to, not something to dance to.
Most of the numbers were in a slow tempo set by the guitar, but things picked up when Snow picked at his strings viciously to mimic percussion. Even though the crowd clapped earnestly through the whole concert, they gave a better response when Snow assaulted his bass. Fadella also sent a surge through the crowd and set the mood with his loud and accomplished playing.
Zaorksi played the role of ‘30’s vixen well, which is to say she wasn’t much of a vixen. Her blonde hair was up in a bun, and she was covered up like an 1800’s New England school marm. She did the whiny voice well. I could almost hear my mother’s “you shouldn’t do that” tone.
A problem was that the bass was hiding in the corner, while every other instrument was loud enough to keep your attention or amplified. Also, the band seemed to be going through the motions, but maybe that’s just a product of the music.
After the set, Zaorski went around soliciting tips, which I didn't like. She even shot me a subtle dirty look when I didn’t give(I later gave of my own free will). Also, the band’s CD is $14, while I think every local self-produced CD should be no more than $10. Or, is this about tourists? A friendly note of advice that would eliminate the tip jar, audience noise problem and hopefully lower the CD price: Get the band in a paying atmosphere, where people are naturally more appreciative of the music.