Here's an example of one of Clifford Bell's Cabarabia evenings with Kiki Ebesn as guest, singing "You Don't Know What Love Is". Written by Don Raye (lyrics) and Gene de Paul (music) As featured in Kiki Ebsen's show, "To Dad, With Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen")
Clifford’s credits include a host of quality entertainers he has either “directed, produced, or booked,” and of course it’s impressive. Many may remember Bell as a regular producer/director of shows at the famed Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt, Catalina Jazz Club, Café Carlyle, and The Oak Room at the Algonquin. Yet, one of his highest and best gifts is spotting extraordinary music talent in performers and finding showcases to introduce them to larger audiences.
And so it is with the lovely chanteuse, Tiffany Bailey. How the serendipitous world of jazz works, at least for Bell, is that one person is a catalyst and brings together complete strangers and in an evening of entertainment showcases, creates a group of new friends who share and bring out the best in each other by virtue of their association. How this evening began, then, was months ago, as Clifford joined forces with the acclaimed and respected singer and vocal workshop leader, Cathy Segal-Garcia, based in Los Angeles.
Bell said, “Cathy is so well respected for spotting singers with original styles, and she encourages them to continue to develop those styles as performance signatures.” Meeting Tiffany Bailey a few months back and hearing her sing, Bell knew immediately that this young lady had both stage presence, vocal chops, and a flair for performing that would take her far. The accompanying video here, of Bailey singing “Damn Your Eyes” shows the magic Bell heard during rehearsals.
Within the hearts and minds of many Los Angeles vocalists, there are many talented and philanthropic collectives, just one of which is a group of people who donate their time, usually monthly, to share their talents in a fund-raising event where the evening’s proceeds are dedicated to a particular nonprofit organization. So, when Bell met Tiffany through Cathy, he learned of Bailey’s devotion to the nonprofit, Autism Speaks. Instantly he decided that would be the beneficiary of their next event.
Thus was the genesis of a Thanksgiving 2015 benefit, “Giving Thanks 2015” at the trendy E Spot Lounge in Studio City, California, which Bell co-hosted with Cathy Segal-Garcia. Entertainers that evening included Tiffany Bailey; Gary Brumburgh; Chambers, Herbert & Ellis; Karen Benjamin, Alan Chapman and Molly Chapman; Mon David; Kiki Ebsen; Martha Taylor LaCroix; Mark Christian Miller; Dolores Scozzesi; and Gabriela Vahanian.
Bell also hosts a weekly podcast on the Global Voice Broadcasting Network. (Search Goole for Cabarabia and Gloval Voice Broadcasting Network) to watch Bell, Bailey, Segal-Garcia talk about the “Giving Thanks” event. From the outside looking in, the worlds of jazz and cabaret entertainment are both beloved and more often than not, rather separate audiences. Bell thinks that’s entirely wrong and insists they combine to form the perfect intersection when you bring together performers with backgrounds in each for a night of entertainment that lends itself to show flow.
Normally you can find the engaging raconteur and vocalist at the producer’s helm of engaging shows in Los Angeles, but this time, he’s agreed to be part of the talent lineup at Tim Moore’s “Tuscany Unplugged.” Tim was a regular viewer of Bell’s GVB podcast every week and Bell said, “Tim always had very interesting feedback and questions, and when he became a producing force down south with his creation of the San Diego Cabaret Awards, I have happily participated wherever I could, which I will do again this year on Monday, February 1, for the Third Annual Event.”
Bell is equally comfortable onstage as offstage, but it’s a rare treat to get to hear him sing. Bell has hosted showcase runs for well known actors who sing, or singers who are popular actor, Peter Gallagher, Katey Sagal. He's also featured his friend, composing talent Artie Butler, who wrote the music to Phyllis Molinary’s lyrics in “Here’s to Life,” but when Bell sings it, a very poignant performance results. (Ed. Note: Having heard him sing it in person, I was brought to tears by his poignant performance.)
Another featured performer for Sunday's lineup, Errolyn Healy is a 2014 San Diego Cabaret Performer of the Year nominee, who is said to bring a gentle effervescence, somewhat akin to Kristin Chenoweth, to the program. Bell said, “I’m really looking forward to hearing her sing.”
Then, there's the "tremendous Marsha Bartenetti, who is well known for smooth jazz, the Great American Songbook." And as an adult contemporary artist, she really delivers classic tunes with a powerful, precise style that will find you swaying along to in your chairs as she sings.
As jazz and cabaret enthusiasts are often heard to say, the evening is going to be “Epic!” Although some tickets are reasonably prices at the door for Sunday’s “Tuscany Unplugged.” For more information, you might want to act sooner and visit the Facebook event page for Jan. 10. All things considered, if Clifford Bell is in the zip code, it’s going to be a grand glimpse into the world that is Cabarabia.
And now, here is Clifford Bell's latest discovery and ingenue, Tiffany Bailey, singing "lights out" on her signature tune, "Damn Your Eyes" with Mark Massey, piano, Al Garcia, bass, Tom Bowe, drums, Dori Amarilio, guitar. She's effervescent and delightful, isn't she? A real dynamo and one to watch for the future.
Performed Live on Dec. 20, 2015 at The E Spot Lounge at Vitello's in Studio City, California. Thanks to award-winning videographer/editor/director, Marc Saltarelli, for his usual magnificent job of filming all the Cabarabia productions.
Dawn Lee Wakefield
Houston Music Examiner Story First published January 8, 2016 on examiner.com