That Thing Called Love
It comes as no surprise that Karen Egert spent five years singing and playing (actually tickling the ivories of Cole Porter’s piano) in the Peacock Alley Lounge of Manhattan’s fabled Waldorf-Astoria. Egert seems ideally suited to the pearls and black-tie set. She’s precisely the sort of jazz-cabaret hybrid you’d expect to pony up a fairly hefty cover charge, plus a two-drink minimum, to listen to for an hour or so. And you’d leave knowing you’d gotten your money’s worth. You won’t hear anything revolutionary, or even particularly daring. Consider for example, her “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” When Sinatra sang it, you knew he was scraping the bottom of an emotional barrel: bereft, borderline suicidal and likely in the company of a pal named Jack Daniel’s. When Egert sings it, you can hear the regret, the after-midnight disappointment, but know it’s not life-or-death despair. Nor will you exit That Thing Called Love humming the original tunes, pleasant but lacking any adhesive distinctiveness, that Egert scatters among the standards. But, you’ll surely appreciate a vocal wide-openness, reminiscent of Eydie Gorme, subdued by a smokiness that suggests Jane Monheit or, occasionally, even Diana Krall. She is, as one track plainly suggests, “So Nice” in a thoroughly professional, pleasantly forgettable way.