The Salon at Don’t Tell Mama takes place most Sunday evenings.
by Grace Jordan Jan. 16, 2023
The first Salon of 2023 at Don’t Tell Mama was full of promise, laughter, and poignant moments of love. The theme of the evening was “Black Songs Matter,” one day ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. day. The warm room was full of diverse performers, including the legendary Marilyn Maye. Host Tanya Moberly explained the rules of the evening and introduced co-hosts, Darnell White and David Lamarr. White and LaMarr are a tremendously talented musical duo and real-life couple.
White and LaMarr opened with Mr. White’s own composition “I Feel All Right.” White played the arrangement flawlessly, and LaMarr’s beautiful vocals sparkled. The song set the tone for the evening as LaMarr got the audience involved in the lyrics in a fun back-and-forth. The duo returned to the stage to sing between acts with a duet, and White closed out the evening with an original love song to LaMarr that had the entire audience in tears.
The performers came, one by one, to perform their songs on stage. Between acts, pianist Matthew Martin Ward explained why ragtime is really classical music and played a lively “Heliotrope Bouquet.”
The chosen songs included classics “Crazy He Calls Me” by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald’s “Blues in the Night,” and Nat King Cole’s “Smile.”
Each performer brought their own unique interpretation to the stage. Sean Patrick Murtagh positively conjured Tina Turner as he commanded the stage with “The Best.” His powerful voice caused the audience to audibly gasp with excitement as they were drawn into the timeless anthem. Host Tanya Moberly brought down the house with her rendition of Ray Charles’s “Let’s Get Stoned.” The timing of this moment could not have been better, as the marvelous 94-year-old Marilyn Maye took the stage right before to encourage the performers, thank them for their talents and ask, “Isn’t anybody going to sing Ray Charles?”
The last open mic performer of the evening was up-and-coming star Alexandria Reese who explained that she wasn’t going to sing but got caught up by the talent in the room and was inspired to take the stage. Reese took authority with a flawless version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” The entire audience was grateful that she did, indeed, take the stage.
The next Salon at Don’t Tell Mama is scheduled for Sunday, January 29th, at 7 pm. The doors open at 6:30 pm.
All photos by Grace Jordan.