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JAZZ REVIEW : Texas Vocal Trio at Hollywood Cinegrill

Montgomery, Plant & Stritch, an appealing young vocal trio from Texas, made a convincing case Wednesday night for a genre of music that might best be described as jazz cabaret.

Opening a two-week stint at the Hollywood Roosevelt Cinegrill, the group performed a set that quickly stamped it as a must-see act for anyone interested in experiencing how entertaining good jazz can be.

Working only with Billy Stritch’s piano for accompaniment, the trio sang through a dazzling program of jazz pieces and classic ballads. Somewhat reminiscent of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, at times, the group has nevertheless moved the familiar process of singing lyrics to jazz lines several light years forward with the use of startlingly rich harmonies and an amiable on-stage manner.

Shifting into cabaret mode, the trio sang a hilarious sendup of “Holiday for Strings” and “Sabre Dance” that was funny precisely because it was so accurately sung.

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A closing medley of Irving Berlin songs spotlighted the group’s individual ballad-singing talents. Especially impressive were Rebecca Plant’s alluring interpretation of “I Got Lost in His Arms,” Billy Stritch’s soulful “All of My Life” and Sharon Montgomery’s misty-eyed cruise through “How Deep Is the Ocean.”

As good as Stritch’s accompaniment was, however, one occasionally wished for the kind of sturdy interactive support that can best come from a solid jazz rhythm section.


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