Songs Review: Tanya Holt and Marcus Simeone at the Metropolitan Area

November 29th, 2013

Congenial vocal chemistry is where you find it, and occasionally unlikely partners like Tanya Holt, a sultry pop-soul singer, and Marcus Simeone, a hyper-emotional tenor, who performed together at the Metropolitan Space on Saturday night, have it. The title of their demonstrate, “Quiet Storm,” refers to the simmering romantic radio structure initial popularized in the mid-seventies. Tailored for cabaret, it embraces everything from Motown to “West Side Story” to Anita Baker.

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Ms. Holt, a onetime waitress at the Metropolitan Place, is a delicate, assured singer whose smoky, medium-light voice has a playful kittenish edge. Mr. Simeone, who shares enough related vocal traits for them to blend, is considerably less inhibited. His voice at its large stop indicates a much more thickly textured echo of Michael Jackson’s. His version of the ominous Billie Holiday getaway signature music, “Strange Fruit,” about a lynching, conjured starkly horrifying photographs (which are also vividly evoked in the new movie “12 A long time a Slave”).

As they sang, accompanied by a trio led by the pianist Tracy Stark, their vocal give and get conveyed the ease and comfort of extended-expression dancing associates acquainted with each other’s moves and senses of humor. “Strange Fruit” led off a 3-track suite that provided “Black Butterfly” (sung by Ms. Holt) and Sam Cooke’s “A Modify Is Gonna Come” (sung by Mr. Simeone), which addresses the civil rights movement. If Mr. Simeone lacked the vocal heft to change Cooke’s vintage into a transfixing anthem, the song was infused with adequate conviction to justify its inclusion.

Tanya Holt and Marcus Simeone execute yet again on Dec. 28 and Jan. 26 at the Metropolitan Place, 34 West 22nd Street, Flatiron district 212-206-0440,

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