Kane Alexander: Swinging Sunday Review by Lyn Zelen

*****stars

Arts Centre Melbourne High Tea Live series presented Kane Alexander and his collection of personal favourites from The Great American Songbook and Swing classics.

Kane Alexander’s Swinging Sunday was complimented by a sumptuous three-tiered High Tea of sweet and savoury delights, freshly brewed tea and coffee in the tranquil surrounds of The Pavilion that overlooks the Yarra River and tree-lined St Kilda road.

Award winning Best Newcomer at the New York Cabaret Festival, Kane Alexander is a crooner with a jazz edge and accompanied by his flawless band on piano, bass, and drums.

Met with a glass of Azahara bubbles on arrival, the ample yet intimate Pavilion catered for all ages. Kane Alexander’s relatable repertoire included Songbook treasures by George Gershwin and Johnny Mercer to Swing songs by Cole Porter and everyone’s familiar favourites from Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Ella Fitzgerald, and contemporary artists renditions—the likes of Eva Cassidy.

Dining on delectable light pastries and an assortment of traditional English Tea sandwiches, our hearts sang along with Kane Alexander’s smooth tones and his interpretation of George Gershwin’s—“I’ve Got Rhythm”.

The relatable jazz and classical singer spoke briefly about his humble background growing up on a farm in the Victorian wheat belt and discovering his grandmother’s jazz and classical record collection.

So began his love of jazz and classical music, which remain “under his skin”, and the acoustics of the Pavilion gave way to another of his favourites, Frank Sinatra’s hit, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.

The immaculate catering kept the aromatic coffee and tea flowing and Kane Alexander kept heads nodding and toes tapping.

Kane Alexander shared his stories as a struggling artist in New York City jazz clubs and accentuated his journey with the subtly sombre “New York City Blues”.

Fast becoming full, it was time to deliberate over the remaining tier of petite fours, when Kane Alexander took it up a notch with his “Tom Jones” treatment of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon”.

We learnt about his times in New York City where happenstance saw him booked to sing at Rupert Murdock’s seventieth birthday. We were also privy to Rupert’s actual birthday song request as Kane Alexander reprised his rendition of “You Make Me Feel So Young”, before a brief interval.

The cacophony of chatter and tinkling china was subdued by tinkling ivories, pacy bass strumming, timely snare drum beats and a lively cover of “The Best is Yet to Come”, followed by “For Once in My Life”.

The High Tea series is perfect for all occasions. Birthdays were celebrated in the Pavilion and Kane Alexander was delighted to accept a birthday request and sang a hauntingly contemporary version of “Autumn Leaves”.

Kane Alexander band’s masterful technique and collaborative arrangements were evident in their improvisation of the Sound of Music’s “My Favourite Things”. Kane Alexander’s version, though not the traditionally wordless scat jazz, was an amiable interpretation for all to sing along.

Petite fours and tea were consumed in the relaxing daylight-twilight feel of the atmospheric Pavilion as Kane Alexander sang the aptly, slow-paced  “Funny Valentine”.

Kane Alexander concluded his Swinging Sunday with the opportune Charlie Chaplin song “Smile” and an applauding encore performance of “Don’t Talk about Me When I’m Gone”.

The delicious Arts Centre Melbourne High Tea and intimate smooth styling’s of Kane Alexander was a relaxing and pleasurable experience.

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