Amanda King
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Amanda King

Minkler, California, United States | INDIE

Minkler, California, United States | INDIE
Solo Jazz Cabaret




""An Intimate Affair: A Man, a Woman, and the American Songbook""

"In a show separated into solo portions, with duets midway and to close, Amanda King and T. Oliver Reid present a roster of American Songbook selections including cabaret, pop, show tunes and jazz.

King’s set—but for the mischievously sung “Midnight Swinger” (Hank Jones) and Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale”—is iconic jazz by the likes of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Billy Strayhorn. She’s got a big, rich, slightly smoky voice with as much talent for jazz and soul as swing. Long-searching arcs and sighing overtones seem effortless, as does the precision with which she improvises around a tune. Her stage persona is warm and packed with gusto.

King and Reid sing together with affection and a sense of play. “Satin Doll” (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn/Johnny Mercer) is cool and breezy. Their version of “Diga Diga Doo” (Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh) is sheer piquant riffing fun, its fine arrangement, by pianist Daryl Kojak, an equal participant. “Love Is Here to Stay” (George and Ira Gershwin) sails brightly into the room on winsome vocal overlays."

Alix Cohen
Cabaret Scenes
October 23, 2011 - Cabaret Scenes Magazine

""The Swing of Things" May 2011 by Steven Murray"

In the third of her Jazz Series shows, Amanda King once again proves she’s a talented newcomer comfortable with her material and capable of great things in the future. Surrounding herself with an amazing collection of jazz musicians: Bill Bell (who played with Carmen McRae), reedman Noel Jewkes (Paula West and Wesla Whitfield), and the amazing rhythm section of Ed Marshall and Jeff Chambers, King allowed her material to breathe easily with tasteful instrumental breaks between verses. Her warm, deep alto grabs onto a lyric without overpowering it, combined with the ability to skip up to higher registers at ease.

The Gershwins’ “But Not for Me” was uptempo and showed off King’s vocals splendidly, as did the last two songs of her ballad medley: “’Round Midnight” and “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry.” King can swing with the best and handle a lovely ballad with delicate phrasing and smooth arrangements. Her eclectic song choices keep your interest, like the jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street” and the lushly romantic “Azure-Te”. “Abi Gezunt,” a klezmer novelty song, became a swing gem with a wonderful clarinet solo from Jewkes (King is fashioning a show to illustrate the links between African-American scat vocals and Jewish klezmer music).

King soared on the mambo-based Dean Martin hit “Sway” and her lovely encore, the Duke Ellington/Irving Mills ballad, “Azure.” Softly, delicately delivered, King accentuated the dreamy quality of the melody and lyric ... With plenty of natural talent and good taste, King has unlimited potential.

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
May 9, 2011 - Cabaret Scenes Magazine

""Amanda King" by Rich Keith"

Unfortunately, a lot of singers fall into a couple of categories: great voice and no feeling for the material, or, too much feeling and no sound. Let’s not even get into whether they can swing…

I guess if it was easy, everyone would do it.

From listening to 30 seconds of the first cut, “Slap That Bass,”on Amanda King’s new album “Chanteuse’ it is evident that she has it all together.

Amanda, along with her very sharp trio, presents a program of standards, and songs that probably should be standards, with a style that hints that she’s been there and done that….but, still gets a kick out of doing it.

We’re glad to have cuts from Amanda King’s “Chanteuse” on our playlist at Pure Jazz Radio.

Rich Keith, GM
Pure Jazz Radio - Pure Jazz Radio

""Power of One" May 2011 by Mike Ward"

Power of One

By Mike Ward
Published: May 12, 2011

What becomes a legend most? This past Monday, May 9, that question left me scratching my head, as the advertised legends accompanying a rising vocal talent didn’t rise to the level of said ascending vocalist. SF Legends, the second in Amanda King’s The Swing of Things series at the Rrazz Room, had audiences perplexed at times as well. Throughout, however, King’s vocals were a steady, shining light, giving audiences a taste as to why Amanda King is the Princess of Swing & one of the finest jazz singers performing today.

King joined the mix for the next tune, bringing verve & consistency to the proceedings. Her rendition of “Cherokee” alchemically pulled the instrumental quartet together, swinging the tune with style. King’s voice was well placed, focused & controlled throughout. Magical. …

“Night in Tunisia” is not a simple tune by any means, yet King made it zing, continuing to rise above.

King created a medley of “Sophisticated Ladies”/ ”Round Midnight”/ ”Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” that benefited greatly from the lush expressiveness of her voice. Her richly-rendered tones seemed to slide under the lyric and wrap around the melody, while securely comforting the heart of the experience of the medley… aural alchemy…

Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing” was the revelation of the evening. This was the experience I was hoping the entire evening would be, each artist bringing something dynamic & special to the game, elevating each other throughout. King’s expressive intonations showed a mastery of control as the quartet solidly assayed the landscape of this lovely, somewhat haunting tune. Superb.

King is well on her way to becoming a legend. She is an artist well worth following. If there are any arts patrons out there looking to invest in a talent, King would be the artist to invest in. Her sensibility & her ability combine with a certain quality that defies capturing, yet is so inviting, comforting & desirable to listen to.
- San Francisco Bay Times

""An Intimate Affair: A Man, A Woman and the American Songbook" by Alix Cohen Oct 2011"

An Intimate Affair…A Man, a Woman,
and the American Songbook
Thursday, October 27th, 2011
by Alix Cohen on Playing Around

Amanda King and T. Oliver Reid met a year ago and were drawn to each other’s vocal style.

An Intimate Affair is broken up into a solo set for each performer with duets bridging and closing the evening. It offers American Songbook selections including cabaret, pop, a show tune, and jazz.

Amanda King is a big lady with a big beautiful, lush voice. She seems lit from within, warmth and vivacity pouring out of her as naturally as breathing. Soul, swing, and jazz numbers are offered with elegant simplicity whether pumped up or poured like syrup. Her arms move only when propelled by the necessity of expression. “Green Dolphin Street” (Bronislau Kaper/Ned Washington), “Sophisticated Lady” (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn with unearthed 1935 lyrics, not the original 1933 ones), and “Round Midnight” (Thelonious Monk/Bernie Hanighen) are among those classics all ably served. Phrases arch up and then down, circle, draw back and pause with control and finesse.

The lesser known “Midnight Swinger” (Hank Jones), introduced by a personal story, puts a twinkle in her eye and ironic spin in her tone. An up tempo, mambo rendition of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” lets her roll the word (love) around her tongue as if tasting it.

When King and Reid duet, they play off one another with great affection and looseness. “She’s wearing stilts,” he quips. “This is a work of art, right here, these 4-inch heels and this ass,” she retorts with a grin. “Satin Doll” (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn/Johnny Mercer), replete with ample “switcherooni,” is bouncy and flirty. A great arrangement of the “very silly” Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh song, “Diga Diga Doo” becomes open forum for infectious vocal and instrumental riffing. Closing with a cheery, animated, swinging version of “Love is Here to Stay” (George and Ira Gershwin), the two leave an audience feeling good.

- Woman Around Town

"Amanda King in Duke Ellington's Jazz Opera Queenie Pie"

“Amanda King performs Queenie in a blond wig, exuding lots of stage presence and powerful vocal skills. In the middle of her range she sounds a bit like Ella. She also has a light, full high voice which she uses in her shipboard lament about missing New York, and a low, low voice set way deep in the chest and solid gold in placement. My only complaint was that most of the songs she sang were very short, almost conversational in tone. I longed to hear her sing on, to tell us the story, verse and refrain.” Jaime Robles, Berkeley Daily Planet - Jaime Robles, Berkeley Daily Planet

""Amanda King - a rave review" by James Blackman, August 31, 2010"

Last night I went to see a local San Francisco singer, Amanda King, who is just
starting her career. I met her at a jazz party a year or so ago and at the party
I overheard a bass player say that he thought Amanda was the closest thing to
Ella as far as voice quality and timber was concerned. I rolled my eyes. Then
she sang. He was pretty much on target.

Last night at the Razz Room she performed her show "What's a Poor Girl Gonna Do"
which she will be performing at the Metropolitan Room during or after the
Cabaret Convention where she will also be appearing. Go see her.

Although she is young, she was so comfortable on the stage and acted like a pro.
And the thing that she shares with Ella and with Helen Humes is the likeability
factor. She gets on the stage and you know she is having fun and that joy
spreads through the audience. Very few singers have that factor, Saran didn't,
Carmen didn't, Anita didn't, Etta Jones did. But when someone has that in
abundance, it really makes for an even more pleasant experience. And, she sings
beautifully. She is a large woman, and like Ella, she has a voice that doesn't
seem to go with the body - it is a rather light voice but powerful, and she has
a range of over two octaves, maybe more, so she can start a song in the lower
register them go to the upper register for the second chorus. She has a
beautiful vibrato that in the upper ranges reminded me a little of another great
singer, Marilyn Monroe. And she can swing, she did "Caravan" as an opener,
"Skylark" as a fast number, and others that really swung. She can also read a
lyric about as good as anyone else and she has interesting arrangements.

I am supporting Amanda because I think she will have a great career. I hope that
you in the New York area will go see and support her when she appears at the
Convention or at the Metropolitan Room. And I think when you see her, you'll
fall in love with her as a performer as I have. And that smile....

Jim - Songbirds

""What's a Poor Girl to Do?" by Steven Murray, August 2010"

Local newcomer Amanda King is heading to the Big Apple for gigs at the Cabaret Convention and the Metropolitan Room with her new endeavor Forgotten Women, Lost Songs. Holding a fundraiser on her behalf, What’s a Poor Girl Gonna Do? is appropriate to her circumstances. It’s been a rough three years for this gal, enduring a divorce, homelessness and single-motherhood, but Amanda is strong of spirit and has come through with a strong new show, of which this evening was just a preview.
Opening with a swinging “Caravan” and a lovely “A Porter’s Love Song to a Chambermaid” (Andy Razaf /James P. Johnson), King establishes her husky alto as a gem and with some fine polish, she could follow in the footsteps of Paula West. She has that early Carmen McRae/Dinah Washington/Ella Fitzgerald smoothness and a natural subtlety. King is a cabaret stylist who can nail two old gems from 1937: Mack Gordon and Harry Revel’s ballad, “Through the Courtesy of Love,” from the movie Head Over Heels, and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Rockin’ Chair,” a big hit for Mildred Bailey. Percy Mayfield’s “Lost Mind” is an excellent choice for King, a bluesy shuffle with sass and style. Well-researched on female vocalists from the 1930s including Bailey, Blanche Calloway and Bea Wayne, King does justice to the material and is comfortable with swing, blues or ballads. I look forward to watching her mature and develop into a successful song stylist.

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
August 30, 2010 - Cabaret Scenes

""Amanda King - The Princess of Swing" by Mike Ward, December 2, 2010"

Amanda King is a young jazz/cabaret artist well on the road to entertainment royalty. She recently brought Bay Area cabaret lovers Forgotten Women, Lost Songs at The RRazz Room, focusing on three women — Blanche Calloway, Mildred Bailey and Bea Wayne — all pioneers in music and not necessarily just for their gender. King’s radiant presence, sparkling eyes and out-of-this-world smile projects a sincere warmth and true love of her craft, evoking the essence of stars of the 1930-50s while maintaining her own style and heart.

King is a Princess of Swing, zippin’ a tune with spark and vitality that highlights aspects of the song that are rarely noticed, yet truly there. Where others might choose a more languorous approach, King gets to business finding the joyful beat inside. Case in point is her inspired version of “Skylark,” making it her own with an easy driving rhythm, illuminating the song in a fresh new light. Instead of drawn-out longing, King’s version has a joyous anticipation, her heart riding the wings of the titled bird with hope. A successful and personalized approach. Ditto with “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Where others would take a sustained, reserved approach, King swings as she sings this classic, perking the ears up. The audience took a collective lean forward, engaged and enthralled with the surprise take.

Her first song of the evening, however, is “Slap That Bass,” and it gives a full sampler platter of King’s multi-hued palette: rich, full, playful, a love of entertaining and many gifts to offer. “Black Moonlight” shows King’s delicious low notes running along currents of a saturated, healthy midrange, embellished with a smattering of well-placed vibrato shimmering an appropriate light around the mood and lyrics. “Heart & Soul” makes one think of a keyboard duet in beginning piano class when we hear the title, but King gives us a grown-up, jazzy version that choreographic-great Jack Cole would have been inspired by in his time (do a Wikipedia search on Cole to see his influence in entertainment).

In an evening of excellence, of special note is her encore. She returned to the stage, was going to change her selection, then decided to stay with what she rehearsed. Lucky for us. What she does with “Lazy Afternoon” is beyond exquisite. Here, she plays the mood down-tempo, inhabiting the long, luxurious, sensual and sense-filled events of a quiet day meant to be shared. Jaw-droppingly-good, this should be a King signature tune. She transports the audience and sends us off with this melting, luscious melding of artist and song.

There’s not a false note on a single song from King’s side of the stage. Her bassist, Chuck Bennett, is old-school, swing/be-bop-tastic. A brilliant artist. Shota Osabe is tight and sparkling on the keys. And charismatic drummer Surya Nur Patri is a good percussionist, but his style often didn’t completely mesh with the other artists on stage.

If I had to point out less-strong aspects, it would be that the theme was dropped about two-thirds of the way through the evening. The narrative that connects doesn’t thread all the way through: the three women are no longer referred to and the songs offered are not lost. Though this is a minor quibble, any time an evening is themed, it’s necessary to see the theme all the way through, or not have this particular theme.

Keep an eye out for King (we’ll feature a CD by her this month). Visit her website at - San Francisco Bay Times

""Amanda King Review: Singer delivers at Rrazz Room" by David Wiegand, November 24, 2010"

The stakes had been raised exponentially by the time young Bay Area singer Amanda King took the stage at the Hotel Nikko's Rrazz Room on Monday night. That's because she'd recently blown away the audience and the New York Times' Stephen Holden at the Mabel Mercer Foundation's New York Cabaret Convention, which is pretty much the World Series of cabaret.

What King proved on Monday is that she has a deliciously supple voice, capable of gliding easily from a thrumming, oaky and often sultry lower register to a delicately melodic upper tier. Bits and pieces of her 90-minute show may have been uneven, and she wasn't always served well by her backup trio, but there's no question Amanda King is a singer worth watching and, more important, worth hearing.

Her Rrazz show was probably a little more high concept than it needed to be. "Forgotten Women, Lost Songs" celebrated music made famous by three women: Mildred Bailey, a great pal and influence on the young Bing Crosby (when he was still singing jazz and before all that bub-bub-bub stuff); Blanche Calloway, a pioneering singer and bandleader and the sister of Cab; and Bea Wain, who had a brief but hit-filled big-band career and is still alive.

On the plus side, it was interesting to learn about these women and to hear some of the more obscure songs associated with them, such as Calloway's sassy "What's a Poor Gal Gonna Do?" or "A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid," recorded by Bailey. On the minus side, the concept was occasionally a bit too confining. For every standout, such as the shattering "Black Moonlight," there was either a novelty number, like "No Soap, No Hope Blues," or a familiar standard, like Hoagy Carmichael's "Rocking Chair" done in a fairly unadventurous manner. At one point, King offered a mostly inspired mashup of two songs, "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "One Note Samba," which she termed "a medle" - one song short of a medley. The songs blended well, but were marred by a noisily intrusive drum solo by Surya Nur Patri, who seemed to think he was playing the Carnaval music from "Black Orpheus."

The trio, including Shota Osabe on piano and Chuck Bennett on bass, often seemed somewhat detached from King. There's a rule somewhere that every member of a backup group has to have a solo, but in the cases of both Bennett's and Nur Patri's offerings, the spotlight cutaways seemed more pro forma than integral to any real arrangement.

OK, now this is going to sound really unfair, but it must be said: When you listen to this group working with King, you can't help wondering what a Mike Greensill or a George Mesterhazy might do with this gifted young singer. Should you be a total stranger to the Bay Area cabaret world, they are the pianist-arrangers, respectively, for Wesla Whitfield and Paula West. Granted, you could probably hum through a kazoo and those two ladies would still blow the roof off the Rrazz Room (and have, many times, sans kazoo), but the point is that an arranger and backup group have to find that perfect sonic marriage with a singer. It's not just about playing the notes: It's about blending the instrumentation with the vocals in at least a seamless, if not creative, way.

One arrangement stood out as a wrong choice, and that was the jaunty take on Carmichael's paragon of plaintive longing, "Skylark." It was fun to listen to, up to a point, simply because King's voice is so compelling. But, at heart, it represented for this listener a disconnect from what the song is about. Yes, you can mess around with the tempo of any song, but, for my money, you still need to tell its story faithfully. "Skylark" is about yearning: Ramping it up like "The Trolley Song" didn't entirely work. The arrangement for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" was also clamorous and felt more as if it were meant to be performed at karaoke night at a strip club.

King is unquestionably an emerging star. Her instrument is both special and often irresistible. As she goes on to make her mark in the music world - and she is definitely doing that - she needs to connect consistently with the stories she is singing. When she did that on Monday night, she made believers of us all. I, for one, want to hear more.

- San Francisco Chronicle

""Nightclub Tradition Gets a Jolt of Youth" by Stephen Holden, October 9, 2010"

Two singers, T. Oliver Reid and Amanda King, were standouts at the New York Cabaret Convention’s opening-night gala on Thursday at Rose Theater

Stately grandeur and youthful intensity: the annual New York Cabaret Convention at the Rose Theater has never lacked for great ladies and refined gentlemen. But as for youth (performers under 50), it has always struggled to forge a credible connection between a nightclub tradition nearly done in by rock ’n’ roll and television and the idea of a future. This year was different. All it takes to demonstrate that somehow or other the tradition goes on is a couple of exceptional rising talents. And at the convention’s opening-night gala on Thursday, two singers — T. Oliver Reid and Amanda King — leapt out from the pack.

Mr. Reid, who has performed in Broadway ensembles for more than a decade, recently won the third annual Metrostar Talent Challenge at the Metropolitan Room. And he transformed the standards “Lucky to Be Me,” “Glad to Be Unhappy” and “Autumn in New York” into deeply personal reflections, his sweet falsetto distilling the yearning and uncertainty in that great Vernon Duke meditation on fall. Mr. Reid declared himself an admirer of Bobby Short, to whom he bears some vocal resemblance, although the wistfulness of his tone and the smoothness of his delivery were all his own.

Ms. King, a San Francisco singer making her New York debut, was almost as captivating. She delivered a pensive, understated “Lazy Afternoon” that displayed an impressive tonal control and the right air of dreamily sensuous hyper-awareness of nature in full bloom.

These singers threw into relief the dignified appearances of Angela Lansbury, Marian Seldes, Barbara Carroll and Marilyn Maye. Ms. Lansbury introduced Ms. Seldes who was presented with the convention’s first award of appreciation. Ms. Seldes recalled Donald Smith, the convention’s producer and mastermind, taking her to see its spiritual godmother, Mabel Mercer, at the St. Regis Hotel in the 1950s and being spellbound by Mercer’s perfect diction and the subtlety of feeling she lavished on each word.

Ms. Carroll, accompanied on bass by Jay Leonhart, played a pianistic Sondheim suite whose songs, connected by a recurring fragment of the “Night Waltz” from “A Little Night Music,” evoked a whirling dance of life. Its emotional turning points were her parlando renditions of “A Parade in Town” and “With So Little to Be Sure Of.”

Ms. Maye, who was given the Mabel Mercer Award, imparted an exuberant clout to a Jerry Herman medley (“The Best of Times” and “It’s Today!”), which was all the more moving coming from the voice of a woman in her 80s with inexhaustible stamina and joie de vivre. All in all, this was the convention’s strongest opening night in memory.

- New York Times

""Album review: Amanda King, "Chanteuse" by Rita Kohn, October 14, 2009"

Posted on Oct. 14, 2009 by Rita Kohn

NUVO Rates it
4 stars

Listening and re-listening to the eleven cuts of Amanda King's Chanteuse, one is drawn to the singer's up-beat approach and lyrical line. King delivers whimsy in the soul and depth in the swing. She’s not afraid to put her heart on her sleeve as on “Love for Sale” – knowing she might be revealing more than she wants to at this moment in her life. She equally speaks her mind as in the fast stepping “I’m One of God’s Children,” surprising with a pixie ending. And she’s daring, as with the shifting moods of the unusual love song, “Bei Mir Bist du Schoen.”

The mix of tempo, styles and degrees of introspection make this an intriguing collection that also includes the upbeat “Stop that Bass,” dreamy “Black Moonlight,” introspective “Makin’ Whoopie,” flirty “Night and Day,” shimmering “Lazy Afternoon,” in a hurry “Got A Lot of Livin’ To Do,” cozying up “What is This Thing Called Love,” and all out “One Note Samba.”

Yes, we expect vocal and lyric interpretive growth in succeeding albums, and more of the transformative power that comes across in her live performance, when King is at one with the audience and her band. King, who graced Indianapolis stages before moving to San Francisco and came back to the Walker for this year's Jazz Fest, now regularly plays clubs in the Bay area and is scheduled to make her debut at the Metropolitan Room in New York City in the Spring of 2010.

- Nuvo Newsweekly


"Chanteuse" - 2008 Grand Boy Records



Amanda King is a classic chanteuse who performs little known gems from the 1930s and 40s, as well as jazz standards and popular songs from the Great American Songbook. Possessing a smoothness of voice and surety of style, she has been hailed by critic Stephen Holden in the New York Times as one of the nightclub worlds exceptional rising talents. Combining the best of jazz and cabaret by focusing on the words, the music, and the swing, Amanda masterfully interprets the music she adores.

Based in San Francisco, in the last four years Amanda has appeared at venues throughout the greater Bay Area including, the Empire Plush Room, Bimbos 365 Club, Jazz at Pearls, Bliss Bar and the Herbst Theater. Having just made her second straight solo turn at the 2011 NY Cabaret Convention presented by The Mabel Mercer Foundation, she once again wowed the crowd with her phrasing and interpretation of songs not oft heard. She has appeared numerous times at The RRazz Room in SF with her most recent shows in May 2011 with The Swing of Things. The three nights she appeared, accompanying her were entirely different groups of musicians who with Amanda played much the same repertoire, but offered very different interpretations. SF Bay Times reviewer Mike Ward declared Kings vocals were a steady, shining light, giving audiences a taste as to why Amanda King is the Princess of Swing & one of the finest jazz singers performing today.

At the RRazz Room in November 2010, Amandas show Forgotten Women, Lost Songs again garnered much critical acclaim including a superlative review from SF Chronicle's David Wiegand saying King is unquestionably an emerging star. Her instrument is both special and often irresistible. She debuted this show in 2010 at The Metropolitan Room in New York City the night after she performed to wild applause at her first appearance at the New York Cabaret Convention. It was here where she received the wonderful notice of NY Times critic Stephen HoldenMs. King, a San Francisco singer making her New York debut, was captivating. She delivered a pensive, understated Lazy Afternoon that displayed an impressive tonal control and the right air of dreamily sensuous hyper-awareness of nature in full bloom.

Having built a solid base in Palm Desert/Indian Wells, Amanda enjoys repeat performances with the seven piece Desert Cities Jazz Band at Vickys of Santa Fe. She has also returned to her hometown of Indianapolis IN to perform in the critically acclaimed Indy Jazz Fest.

A professional singer only since 2007, Amanda combined her theatrical and musical gifts garnering critical acclaim as Queenie in Duke Ellingtons rarely performed jazz opera, Queenie Pie, produced by the Oakland Opera Theater. She has also appeared at the Fillmore Jazz Festival, the North Beach Festival, and the Castro Street Festival where she became an instant hit. In December of 2008 Amanda performed with the prestigious San Francisco Chamber Orchestra singing Gershwin songs arranged for the orchestra by Bay Area jazz icon Jeff Neighbor, Amandas regular bassist.

Amandas CD Chanteuse celebrates the music she loves. Working with her regular trio of well known jazz artists, Shota Osabe, Jeff Neighbor, and Surya Nur Patri, Amandas labor of love and life was recorded at the famous Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.

Band Members