After a hot, noisy day and a drive through heavy traffic I arrived at the oasis, Catalina’s. It felt cozy and cool as people were enjoying dinner. The staff is always so courteous and helpful, they make everyone feel comfortable. I ordered my favorite, catfish. The waiters always remind customers that “it’s spicy.” It is so delicious and spicy.
The sidemen came to the stage and got settled: Kevin Toney-piano & Musical Director, John B. Williams-bass, Greg Paul-drums and guitarist John Storie. Singer Elijah Rock was introduced and began this evening of George Gershwin gems. Rock looked very elegant in a dark suit. “S’Wonderful “ was a fine romp, with a very confident Rock. His musicians were backing him with a swinging spirit. The audience responded with hearty applause. Everyone got comfortable, this was going to be a good show.
Rock has a lot of confidence, singing “Fascinating Rhythm” and “I Can’t Get Started” with a deep, resonant voice. I was very impressed with his warm tone, excellent enunciation of the lyrics and his relaxed style. The quartet couldn’t have been better. Storie was so good as he added depth to the material. Every musician was outstanding. It was so good to hear a singer and musicians at this high level of ability and emotion. Wow! Rock took his time with each tune; a slow, measured “I Can’t Get Started” and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” Each a fine, polished gem, which can be heard on Rock’s new CD, Elijah Rock Gershwin For My Soul. Rock is a crooner of the “old school” like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Joe Williams, Steve Lawrence, Mel Torme and others who toured, recorded and made lifelong fans along the way.
Other gems during one long show included “Long Ago and Far Away,” “Shall We Dance,” “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” and an original by Rock titled “New York City Springtime.” I( think that was the title) Rock will be traveling to promote the CD which was produced and arranged by Kevin Toney, recorded and engineered by Nolan Shaheed. I think audiences are going to be impressed by Rock’s easy, yet swinging style, his fine choice of material and his great taste in sidemen. This group is highly recommended!
P.S. This was one long set, because there was no intermission. The group was excellent throughout the show. Not a glitch anywhere, anytime. Elijah Rock will be appearing at The E Spot soon and Elijah will be Headling Vitello’s Supper Club in Studio City on September 7th at 8pm. . Call for reservations early.