Bay Area crooner Russ Lorenson is back making merry for his eighth annual Christmas in San Francisco show, with his special guests, Wesla Whitfield, Mike Greensill and Veronica Klaus. This always swinging evening offers plenty of seasonal tunes by such great songwriters as Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn, Frank Loesser and more. It's like hanging out with that musical family we all wish we had, but could only watch on TV.
Skip the Christmas caroling and spend a cozy winter's evening with Russ Lorenson and his special guests as they celebrate a jazzy Christmas, San Francisco style! An annual Bay Area holiday tradition, there's something for everyone in this swinging evening of jingle jazz. Russ Lorenson is heard each year on "The Bay Area's Official Christmas Station - 96.5 KOIT-FM" with his recording of "Christmas in San Francisco," a holiday favorite for Bay Area listeners. Russ has established a reputation as one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading interpreters of jazz standards, with a sound and approach that place him at the intersection of Broadway, jazz, and pop – the very essence of the Great American Songbook.
Nominated for a 2007 MAC Award by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, he has toured the US, UK and Europe, appearing in concert with such luminaries as Broadway stars Karen Mason (Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Sunset Boulevard) and Dale Kristien (Phantom of the Opera), “Queen of Cabaret” Andrea Marcovicci, and as the opening act for the legendary Eartha Kitt. Lorenson is best known for his critically-acclaimed tributes to two American music icons, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin. His celebrations of the lives and music of these two greats have played to sold-out audiences across the US. His two CDs have received extensive radio airplay in major markets across the US. Both CDs were included on the Nominating Ballot for the 2006 Grammy Awards in the category of "Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album" alongside such artists as Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, and John Pizzarelli.
"Lorenson is not just a crooner covering the traditional Sinatra style or trying to be the next Connick, he is his own man." --Jazz Review
"Lorenson is part of the neo-croonerism pack that includes Harry Connick Jr., Michael Bublé, Jamie Cullum and Peter Cincotti...Lorenson's own vocal technique is a masterpiece." --San Franciso Examiner
"Russ possesses one of the great male voices in cabaret..." --Cabaret Scenes
"Russ' technique has roots in "crooning" but he is far above the quality of the self-described crooners we are accustomed to in cabaret lately. His voice has a creamy, dreamy quality..." --Cabaret Hotline Online
"Russ Lorenson is a performer that is reminiscent of the old greats...His voice transcends mainstream artists and is placed in a category in itself, one where the world of acting and jazz are interchangeable entities in the music spectrum." --The Juice Weekly
Expanding to 2 nights this year, the show features Russ' special guests, all well-known to San Francisco audiences.
Friday, December 13:
Jazz and cabaret songstress Wesla Whitfield stars with her pianist/arranger husband, Mike Greensill to ring in the holiday season. Whitfield and Greensill have garnered numerous national television, radio and written media credits including All Things Considered, Fresh Air with Teri Gross, People Magazine, CBS Sunday Morning, New York Times Sunday Magazine, DownBeat Magazine profile and a feature in ‘O’ Magazine.
Wesla Whitfield inhabits that indeterminate zone where jazz and cabaret meet. Trained in classical music and opera, Whitfield has toiled for more than three decades to become one of the most gifted performers breathing life into that exquisite body of Broadway tunes, movie songs and Hit Parade numbers known collectively as the Great American Songbook. Though based in the Bay Area where she held court for 27 seasons at the famed Plush Room, Whitfield has spent much of her time in New York, working such noted rooms as the Algonquin Oak Room, Le Jazz Au Bar, The Metropolitan Room and Joe’s Pub at New York’s Public Theater. She has also appeared in concert at NY Town Hall, Avery Fisher and Carnegie Hall. With her deft sense of time and uncanny ability to connect with the emotional truth in a lyric, the jazz world has had no qualms about embracing her as one of its own. Working with pianist/arranger Mike Greensill, the two have released 25 acclaimed recordings, including their most recent, "The Best Things In Life," recorded live in San Francisco.
Well known in his role as musical director to his wife, acclaimed vocalist Wesla Whitfield, Mike Greensill is also resident piano player and side-kick on Sedge Thomson’s weekly Public Radio show to the world, West Coast Live. He can also be caught playing jazz and singing in many a San Francisco saloon, including The Washington Square Bar and Grill in North Beach on Sundays. As an arranger, Mike has had the opportunity to write for big bands and symphony orchestras including the Boston Pops and the San Francisco Symphony. Mike has also had the pleasure of accompanying such diverse vocal talents as Rita Moreno, Margaret Whiting, Broadway stars Lillias White and Franc D'Ambrosio and jazz singers Madeline Eastman, Ann Hampton Callaway and Opie Bellas.
"This wonderful singer thrills me when I hear her." --Tony Bennett
"Wesla Whitfield (is) the best cabaret singer in the world. She knows how to point up every lewd nuance in a Cole Porter lyric. But she can also swing as hard as Nat Cole, and her way with a torch song is as devastatingly unsentimental as Frank Sinatra at his late-50s best." --New York Daily News
"Wesla Whitfield is an indoor landmark. Every great city deserves a signature chanteuse, and San Francisco is fortunate to have Whitfield as its resident voice." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Greensill is an accompanist in the great tradition of Jimmy Rowles and Ellis Larkins. It's worth twice the price of admission just to hear him!" --NY Daily News
"The perfect accompanist." --The San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, December 14:
Veronica Klaus is a critically-acclaimed chanteuse who evokes the glamour and mystique of studio-era leading ladies with a bit of cool June Christy style, a glimmer of fiery blues inflections, and a voice that is purely her own.
She is a San Francisco cabaret icon well known for her soulful renditions of jazz, blues and cabaret classics, which she showcases beautifully on her latest CD, Something Cool. She garnered lavish praise with her critically-acclaimed autobiographical show Family Jewels-The Making of Veronica Klaus at Theatre Rhinoceros.
Voted Best Chanteuse by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the San Francisco Chronicle lauds her as "A beautifully expressive and tuneful song stylist..who is brassy and confident onstage." She has performed at Slims, Cafe Du Nord, The Great American Music Hall, The Empire Plush Room, Jazz at Pearl's, The Venetian Room, and The Rrazz Room. This is Veronica's third appearance in Christmas In San Francisco.