Greatness, in any field,  is rare.  I got to witness true greatness twice of late.  Let me start by talking about  that, before moving onto the  very good, the pretty good, and the not-so-good.  Because real greatness needs to be acknowledged.

I went to see  Betty Buckley singing at  Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. When she sang “Young at Heart” (by Carolyn Leigh and Johnny Richards), I felt like I’d been handed a gift. She sang with such concentration and conviction–as if she totally believed every word of that wondrous song–I could not help but share in her belief. I doubt I’ll ever hear anyone sing that song “live” better. (The late Jimmy Durante used to perform that song wonderfully, in his own very different way, as of course did Frank Sinatra, who introduced it in the film of the same name.)  That was, for me, the best moment I’ve experienced in any club this year, and I’m grateful.  She was utterly focused, utterly inside the song.  And she was spellbinding.  Buckley at her best.  And she never really raised her voice, or held notes long, or tried to show off her voice the way young singers in college showcase productions so often seem to want to do.  It was restrained, yet as powerful  as it could be.

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