By Charly SHELTON
stepping into Tam O’Shanter last Friday was a step back into a time when going out meant either to a picture show where girls would swoon over the likes of Cary Grant or going out dancing to the sounds of the big band era.
This may be an unlikely place to find a 20-something California girl but to Jennifer Keith this era is home.
“These songs are timeless. They are called standards for a reason,” said Keith.
The Jennifer Keith Quartet performed at Tam O’Shanter and entertained the audience with classics made famous by the likes of Julie London Peggy Lee and Edyie Gorme.
Keith sang the standards dressed in a classic red satin gown with long black gloves. Not a typical look or musical choice for a woman born almost 40 years after the era she now emulates.
She said this music has always resonated with her. “I guess that is just what I learned through musical theatre in high school and college,” she said.
Keith started singing while attending an arts school in Orange County and continued her love affair with music through college.
“It was a lot of musical theatre in both high school and college. Many of the songs of that era made famous by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald came from musical theatre,” she said.
Music and theatre is in her blood, literally. She has grown up in a Hollywood family of the golden era. Her grandfather was an actor, singer and dancer and her great grandparents were vaudevillians.
“My great, great grandfather was the ‘K’ in RKO,” she added.
RKO Radio Pictures legacy includes such films as “King Kong,” “Bringing Up Baby,” “Citizen Kane” and “The Best Years of Our Lives.”
Keith had some pretty well known back up at her Friday performance by members of the Royal Crown Revue. The revue is well known in Los Angeles as the premiere swing band in California.
She and the band members will be traveling to Australia next month for a tour. She just wrapped in the studio, finishing her album which will be available in the near future.
“I know this music is different for someone my age but I think it is important for all generations to hear these songs. I feel it is part of my mission to keep them [out there] for the audience to hear,” Keith said.
Follow her on my space at www.myspace.com/jenniferkeithquartert. To hear her sing and see a portion of her performance visit our website at www.crescentavalleyweekly.com and click on the weekend review.