52nd Street Jazz Review

Reviewed by Michael Colby
Elvis Sinatra East Village Vegas!

"Definitely a lounge act" is a description Bette Midler once gave to one of her stage personas and it's an apt description for George Leonard, who performs under the eye-catching name of Elvis Sinatra. George/Elvis has the kind of smooth crooner's voice one might expect to hear singing "Strangers in the Night" and "Behind Closed Doors" in the bar of the Holiday Inn down by the airport. But Elvis Sinatra sings songs he's written himself--songs with tongue firmly placed in cheek. Typical lyrics include "I'm a criminal/I used to trap and torture flies/I'm a criminal/I tell my therapist lies" ("Criminal"), "I wish that I was just an ordinary person/Being handsome makes the situation worsen" ("Handsome Guys"), or from "Pisces," a love song to a fish (yes, a fish, most likely a tuna), "I love her fishy ways/My little bouillabaisse." It's easy almost to miss what E.S. is doing. The songs all seem fairly normal until a closer listen reveals some of the oddities in the lyrics. In fact, E.S.'s subtlely may be somewhat a drawback. A name like Elvis Sinatra cries out for something a little more outrageous. George Leonard says: "When I write songs, I start out dead serious. Then sometime they just get ... funny." It's hard to imagine that "Pisces" was ever intended seriously, but the closing "Whoever Said You Were Gone" is a poignant song about lost love that works on a completely different level. "Don't know why I allow ya/In all of my dreams/Or why I check each hour/My answer machine." There may be more to Elvis Sinatra than a knowing wink.

1999 Michael Colby All rights reserved. May not be reprinted or reproduced in any form without permission.

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