Regional Reviews: Wisconsin, SE
Syndee WintersLunart Festival/Cafe Coda
Also see John's review of A Christmas Carol
Syndee Winters is a seasoned Broadway singer/dancer (The Lion King, Hamilton) and TV actress. She certainly made her presence known in her cabaret act at Cafe Coda, a newish jazz club (remember those?) on December 17, 2022.
Cafe Coda features a tiny stage and some tables for a couple dozen, with a bar set back from the action for the non-VIP patrons. The stage for Syndee Winters' show had room for a grand piano, electric keyboard, acoustic and electric bass, and a drum kit, plus the featured performer. It was enough for a vibrant and eclectic evening of pop, jazz, and Broadway songs delivered with gusto and an intense rapport with the audience.
Winters started out with a song from Really Rosie (book by Maurice Sendak and music by Carole King). Winters was in the show in high school on Long Island. She also covered music from A Chorus Line, The Wiz, The Lion King, her recording project Butterfly Black, and her own show Lena–a Moment With a Lady, about Lena Horne.
Winters has a strong but flexible and smooth voice. She has a tremendous capacity to sell a song. This was not a fancy-dress ball–she was dressed in a robe, with jeans and a white top–but she connected intensely with her audience. Her energy, both personal and vocal, didn't flag over two sets.
The ensemble–Jason Kutz on keyboards, John Christensen on bass, and Mike Koszewski on drums–accompanied her capably. They shaded their instrumental tones with subtlety to fit the needs of the songs.
LunART is devoted to empowering women in the arts. They have a new-composers festival coming up from May 30 June 4, 2023. As stated, Cafe Coda is a jazz club, with food and drink, but with a strong focus on community. Proprietor Hanah Jon Taylor has paid his performing dues over 30 years and has created an intimate and friendly performance space.
Syndee Winters performed on December 17, 2022, at Cafe Coda, 1224 Williamson St., Madison WI. For more information, please visit https://cafecoda.club/.