Charlie's has outdone itself in a triple bill of the Songbirds of Jazz through Sunday with three preeminent singers whose careers date, respectively, from the '30s, '50s and '70s.
Last night Carol Sloan opened the first show with an a cappella introduction to "Ain't Misbehavin' " that displayed her masterful control and swing, and in "Cheek to Cheek" she leaped intervals in scat. The Jimmy Rowles-Johnny Mercer "Saga of Fraser the Lion," a Sloan specialty, was an epic in song's clothing.
A lazy drawl and tropical heat characterized Susanna McCorkle's "Let Yourself Go"; "No More Blues" featured headlong doubletime choruses; "Where or When" was a pillow-soft ballad, and "My New Celebrity" raced down the rails full steam.
Maxine Sullivan's "Surprise Party," "I've Got the World on a String" and other standards showed her to be as light and fresh of voice as her companions, and her completely natural sense of swing convinces one that if she did not write the book on that mysterious quality, she contributed several key chapters.
In the finale, "The Lady Is a Tramp," the three strutted across the stage as they weaved in and out of each other's lines like three horns. Support by pianist Stef Scaggiari, bassist Steve Novosel and drummer Bill Reichenbach was spirited and in perfect sync.