Lyn Stanley's Impressive New York Debut at The Metropolitan Club

Backed by a stellar, award-winning trio of musical director and pianist Mike Renzi, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Dave Ratajczak, Lyn Stanley greatly impressed in her New York debut at the intimate Metropolitan Club, billed as an "Internationally acclaimed jazz cabaret".

The trio helped lift Stanley to melodic and phrasing heights well-beyond what she achieved on her impressive debut album.

While Ms. Stanley showed some early performing discomfort in the form of nervous smiling and excessive crowd pleasing and eye darting, she quickly settled down and got comfortable on stage. That achieved and fully invested in the songs, she delivered a solidly entertaining set of songs from her debut album and from her soon to be released new one called Potions consisting of material written and made famous during the 1950s.

After a heartfelt telling of her first encounter and subsequent friendship with jazz pianist Paul T. Smith and his wife Annette Warren (Smith backed Bing Crosby among others and for years Ella Fitzgerald including on her legendary Verve "Songbook" series)—both of whom strongly encouraged her singing career—she performed a version of "The Man I Love" that made clear the transcendent interpretive heights to which Ms. Stanley can reach, even if she didn't get there on every tune.

She put in a solid hour plus performance with only "The Thrill Is Gone" failing to gel. Her version of "Love Potion Number 9" was sassy and playful as was her take on the mischievous “What Am I Going to Do With a Bad Boy Like you?” from her first album. Even "I Just Want to Make Love to You", which was a bit too salacious for this reviewer's tastes on that album became more playful and with Renzi and company's backing, took on just the right tone.

In the notes for the debut album critic Don Heckman pulled his punches somewhat declaring Stanley a "potentially significant new talent". I think had he seen this show he'd have thrown rather than pulled the punch.

Like the great Mel Tormé, Ms. Stanley, effectively and pleasingly crosses the line between jazz and cabaret singer. Her choice of material, of back-up musicians and even her insistence upon the best engineers and studios (Al Schmitt, Capitol) indicates a performer willing to invest in herself and in the music she loves.

She was far better live last night than she was in the recording studio a few weeks ago at the session I attended where she had some pitch issues. Her success last night under live performing pressure speaks volumes about Lyn Stanley's talent and her bright future as both a recording artist and stage performer.

(Both Renzi and Leonhart backed Mel Tormé on Mel Tormé and Friends Live at Marty's so after the show I talked with them for a moment about it. Renzi said he and Leonhart were talking about the album before the show).

Steelhead's picture

Wish like Hell I could have made that concert.

Thanks again for reviewing Lost in Romance Mikey. I would have surely missed it or passed without your review. Beautiful performance and the vinyl is dead flat, quiet, and wonderful to throw on the table.

I will be buying her new one on vinyl as soon as it is released.

Would love to see her in a club!!!!!!!!!!

Jim Tavegia's picture

Anyone who sings knows what the standards are and they are high in the biz. Lynn is willing to put in the time, work hard, hire great talent, improve her craft. It is hard to check your nerves at the door and great banter with the audience takes time to develop. I have 2 of Jane Monheit's music DVDs and with standards singers these videos are great to watch and listen the musicians at work. Maybe Lynn will record her next outing.'s picture

Jazz singer Lyn Stanley's purist-heaven, sable-smooth contralto always comes through--from long, long, voice-trying days in the studio to live shows with Jazz greats. With Lyn's voice gift as a starting point, her hard work and educated effect on the process is always evident. These things combined, along with choice of musicians, earned her the standing ovation May 7 in NYC's Metropolitan Room.

roger staton's picture

Hi, Re Ms Stanley I had a near great escape re her LP which fortunately for me was sold out when I tried to purchase it. This initial enthusiasm was triggered by Mikey's original hype re Ms Stanley's remarkable record. Undaunted I bought the 24/192 download from Cookie Mereno and was so disappointed in Ms Stanley's unmusical rendering. To mention her in the same breath as Ella is sacrilege. To add insult to injury on inspection of the 24/192 files they have no frequency content above 25khz due, according to Cookie, compression applied in the mastering process...

Michael Fremer's picture
Nothing in what I wrote suggests that Ms. Stanley is in any way comparable to Ella Fitzgerald. Did you read or skim?
Lyn Stanley's picture

Unfortunately, I just saw this post. Cookie has now heard about what you have written here, and says she has no idea about what you are saying or where you got the info you are posting here. She will respond directly on this blog. Meanwhile, I believe I have your purchase info for my download and I will personally refund your money for my album Roger on the promise you will NEVER buy anything of mine again. Deal? This means you can never comment on my work again, because you know nothing. If you read correctly, Michael Fremer only stated that I was discovered by Ella's piano accompanist, arranger and conductor for over 20 years. He thought I was great. But, what does he know according to you? He was just a world class musician. And you? By the way, if you are going to mention names, suggest you get it right...her name is Cookie Marenco. Let me know about the refund: near escape is over...and your commentary unremarkable and inaccurate.

cookiemarenco's picture

Roger, I don't think you are intentionally spelling my name wrong or intentionally misquoting from a private email from me to you. So, let's set the record straight.

You have only ever bought one recording from us and it was Lyn Stanley's recording, "Romance"... which can be found here.

In my personal note to you, I never said compression was applied in the mastering. What I said was it's common for eq, filtering and compression to be used in the recording and mastering process, but we have no way of knowing unless you contact the engineers directly.

Not realizing you'd take my words out of context, let me explain further. While for my own recordings I tend to use less eq, filtering, and compression, that doesn't mean that great engineers like Al Schmitt agree with me. Al has also recorded Diana Krall, Ray Charles, and Natalie Cole along with Lyn Stanley.

As far as mastering engineers, Bernie Grundman mastered the record. I have mastered hundreds of records with Bernie in the past. It is common for Bernie to use compression. But, again, I was not at the recording or mastering sessions and don't know what they did... and really, who cares.

If you don't like the album, I'm not sure why you bought it. There are full length streaming samples for you to check before buying. No one is trying to hide anything.

It seems you have some kind of grudge with someone. I hope you resolve it directly with that person and not in public with misleading quotes.

Wishing you a happier day.

ravenacustic's picture

I avoided spending money on the Lyn Stanley album when a few weeks ago I went to an audiophile friend's house and without telling me what he was playing queued the very album raved about here on this website. I immediately told my friend not only is this babe tone deaf and clueless about phrasing and breath control but the recording itself is one of the worst I have heard in recent memory. To put her and this recording in the company of Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme not to mention great recordings is a sad commentary on the ears pervading the music and high end audio scene.

Michael Fremer's picture
Where did I put Lyn Stanley in the same company as Ella or Mel Tormé? I did no such thing. Just because they are mentioned here— Ella because the guy who encouraged Lyn played piano on many of Ella's great records and Mel because of the cabaret/jazz singer comparison— does not mean I was in any way suggesting a singing comparison. If you are calling Al Schmitt's recording bad, you really need a Midol.
Devil Doc's picture

She's not tone deaf and her record is a great recording, but to mention her in the same breath as Ella is just ludicrous.

Michael Fremer's picture
Not I. Other than to state a fact: her mentor was Ella's pianist on many of her great songbook records.
roger staton's picture

A current problem with modern parlance is that of omission. Things unsaid have as much resonance as things said to the critical listener. When one - as you - has the ear of the music loving public through your expertise in a common subject then the voice of Ms Stanley - much lauded by you in your columns - has to be linked to a frame of reference to good singing. When you mention Ella in any context to do with Ms Stanley it seems as if you are comparing the two singers. Why are you promoting Ms Stanley? If she has put out a limited edition LP that contains poor singing surely there is something amiss here?

Devil Doc's picture

To fill in the blanks.

Lyn Stanley's picture

Intonation issues? Not musical? Tone deaf? Clueless phrasing? If the world class accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald for over 20 years told me I had perfect intonation on Lost In Romance after listening to the album...where do these guys, NON musicians-- come from Michael? My phrasing has been reviewed and applauded by top reviewers who KNOW music. I will take the high road...and leave it at that... regarding this performance--I was NERVOUS--it was my 1st live performance debut in NYC. Vocal chords are just like something near and dear to men...if criticized...they do not rise to the occasion!

zjautoparts's picture

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Carbs needed cleaning. With help of Haynes manual have disassembled but the inlet needle valve seat does not come out of the upper body. Further complicating matters, I did not notice it had not come out (first time cleaning carbs) and already dipped the upper body in Berrymans, which I assume has melted the rubber gasket off of the needle seat. Two questions.

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