The Record (Bergen County, NJ) - 2-10-95



ROSEMARY CLOONEY: DEMI-CENTENNIAL: Through March 4 at Rainbow & Stars, 65th floor, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (212) 632-5000. The band: John Oddo (piano), Joe Cocuzzo (drums), Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Jay Leonhart (bass), George Rabbai (trumpet), Scott Hamilton (saxophone). Cover $40; no minimum.

There's a continuing miracle in this country, and its name is Rosemary Clooney.

It was midway through opening night at Rainbow and Stars that she got around to "Sophisticated Lady," putting all the soft husky poignance of her voice, like an alto sax, into "smoking, drinking, never thinking of tomorrow. ..." On the last lovely diminuendo by this mistress of modulation, you could hear a low moan sweeping through the room -- higher praise than the salvo of applause that immediately followed.

The current appearance, through March 4, is titled "Demi-Centennial." That's also the name of the new album for Concord, her 19th on that label. Demi-centennial means it's been 50 years since the Clooney sisters, Betty and Rosemary, began singing duets on WLW radio, Cincinnati.

The Rosemary of 50 years later is a large woman with a featherweight touch. Thirteen of those years, she was married to Jose Ferrer, and she sang his favorite song, "There Will Never Be Another You."

Since her old sidekick, Tony Bennett, is enjoying such a renaissance, she said with the same smile, "I've decided to do exactly what he did, record all his songs, starting with this one." It was "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," of course, and she did it beautifully, with the same understress and the added Clooney twist of throwing away its emotion-laden "I don't care" out of the side of her mouth.

She did wonders with a spectrum ranging from blue to bounce to witty nostalgia, to deep nostalgia, to the racing up-tempo finale of "Will You Still be Mine." Along the way, she turned the mike over to her niece, Cathi Campo, for one number. "Are you nervous? Welcome to show business," said Aunt Rosemary.

Hey, Rosie, welcome yourself. The first 50 years are the hardest.

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