Friday, April 24, 2009
Sony Holland Quartet @ The Rrazz Room - Review
Photo courtesy of www.sf.eater.com
Photo courtesy of Terry Dudlley and www.sonyholland.com - All Rights Reserved
The Rrazz Room situated within the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco is fast becoming the premier venue for entertainment. It has been opened for a little over a year and has attracted some of the Bay Area's biggest names and talents.
The room itself is located in the lobby area of the hotel with a great little bar and lounge setting adjacent to the concert room. The lounge area is one of those comfortable settings where you can just relax and even doze off on one of those gloriously overstuffed couches. Although I don't drink, I've heard that the bar itself is a "drinker's paradise."
The most important aspect of a concert venue for me is the stage. The stage should be the focal point of the room. When I walked into the Rrazz Room I felt as if I were walking into a huge concert hall. The stage literally speaks to you as you arrive. The room itself has a mixture of small table vignettes which face the stage. There are actually three levels in the room yet no matter where you sit, you can enjoy an intimate setting with fantastic views of the stage. We were there three different nights for the Sony Holland show and had perfect seating each visit. The sound in that room is impeccable. Again, the sound is the same whether you are sitting up front or in the back.
I was so happy with the lighting in the room. I was able to see Sony and the band without any problem at all even while sitting further away from the stage. I was also able to get a decent snapshot without flash which never happens at other venues.
The service is outstanding in that they were not only friendly but available as well without being intrusive. They knew when to approach for your second drink order and had your bill ready by the end of the show. Service is important during these concerts and I have to say that the Rrazz Room has the best that I've experienced.
I also have to mention the seating. We arrived each night about a half hour before the show and received maitre D' seating. Believe me that there are not many venues out there who provide this service and if they do, they normally don't with a smile. The Rrazz Room gets top honors on this one for me.
After the show right outside the room by the lounge area there is a spot where you can meet the entertainer and buy cd's. It's a great little setup. The Rrazz Room gets a five out of five stars from me. I will definitely be checking out more shows at that venue.
Vocalist Sony Holland and her quartet - Benny Watson-piano, Jeff Buenz-guitar, Seward McCain-bass and Alan Hall-drums, dazzled the audience with their rock, reggae and jazz expertise. With rock classics like You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry to pop favorites such as Honky Cat by Elton John and jazz standards like My Romance, each tune was perfectly suited to Sony's unique interpretation. Her vocal range and ability to flow flawlessly from one key into another is simply nothing short of perfection. Her passions ignite when performing haunting ballads like Sanssouci by Rufus Wainwright and When I Find You by Jerry Holland. While on the other hand she can rock out with the best of them on All I Really Want To Do by Bob Dylan.
William Butler Yeats was known for his obscure and mystical poetic voice. One of his poems "Those Dancing Days Are Gone" was set to music by Carla Bruni - Sarkozy (The first lady of France). This oddly delightful tune sung by Sony Holland and arranged with a reggae beat is an absolute masterpiece. I love it and it is a favorite among her fans. During her concerts I always look forward to a few special tunes and this is one of them.
The Jerry Holland originals are always a special treat for everyone including Sony. She sings his tunes with a passion in her eyes that can just fill your heart with love. While watching the show on Wednesday night during her performance of "When I Find You" by Jerry Holland, my friend turned to me and uttered "When I hear one of Jerry's new songs, I just fall in love all over again." It's true. That particular song stuck in my head for days after the concert. Being a writer myself, all I can say is I wish I had half his talent.
Seeing Sony perform is always a special occasion for me. Seeing her perform in a top notch venue like the Rrazz Room makes it all the more special. So, as a special treat for all of you here is a video of Sony singing the Rufus Wainwright hit "Sanssouci" during her show.
I want to thank the Rrazz Room for that spectacular concert series with Sony Holland and hope to see her there again soon. For more information on The Rrazz Room and Sony Holland, click the links below.
The Rrazz Room www.therrazzroom.com
Sony Holland www.sonyholland.com