Songbird of Venice Suzy Williams will put to music some enduring passages of literary greats at a “Songs of Literary Icons” concert scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 14th, at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is $7.
Williams will depart from her normal set of blow her top, go completely nuts, jive and swing to
perform jazzy song arrangements using passages from Lewis Carroll, Jack Kerouac, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg and Tennessee Williams.
Accompanying Williams will be Brad Kay on piano, Terry Plumeri on bass (an alumnus of Frank Sinatra’s group), Dave McKelvey on harmonica and Benny Brydern on violin and accordion.
One main emphasis of the program was to take writers famous for their literary works who had written a scant few song lyrics or even just one.
Williams resurrects Pull My Daisy, a song with lyrics dripping with sexuality collaborated on by Beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.
With other songs, Williams took some of her personal favorite poems, such as “A Song of Love” and wrote the music surrounding it.
Short readings from the classic writers will be read before each song.
Editing the literary greats
proved to be the most difficult part for her in arranging the music, Williams says.
About Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, she comments, “The text shines, shimmers and sparkles as you read it. I add the
whole book into a song. I would start with one paragraph and I would just have to read the next. I would find five or six gems on every page.”
She performs a song by playwright Tennessee Williams, as well as the song “A Sleepin’ Bee” from the Truman Capote musical House of Flowers, but it doesn’t come off “show-tuney,” she says.
Instead, Williams and her ensemble stick to a 1940s and 1950s jazz style, she says.
Williams first gained musical acclaim in the 1970s as part of the duo Stormin’ Norman and Suzy, a
Polydor Records recording artist described as “rag n roll.”
Williams’s vocal style had a heavy Bessie Smith blues influence. In recent years, Williams has developed her jazz vocal skills, taking cue from greats like Billie Holiday.
Information, (310) 822-3006.