This ongoing anthology series uses the crucial idea of other “variety show” presentations (like Susie Mosher’s “The Line-up”) in that, unlike “Cast Party,” which is a true “open mic” event, “Vocal Mania” is completely curated, the artists and the songs they’re singing are worked out beforehand, so it lacks the randomness that represents both the worst and the best of “Cast Party.” It’s hosted by two veteran vocalists who are highly accustomed to working with other singers, Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer and Lauren Kinhan of the New York Voices. Produced monthly by Charles Carlini, the series has run for over a year now both at the Zinc Bar down as well as the sumptuous space at the Birdland Theater. “Vocal Mania” worth attending right off the bat for the two co-hostesses alone, but the line-up of guests, both surprise and otherwise, makes it even more so. (And the rhythm section, bassist Boris Kazloff, drummer Vince Cherico, and the brilliant pianist John DiMartino can handle anything that any of these singers can throw at it.) Chances are that every time you attend, you’ll hear something extraordinary – something that you never heard before.
Lately, producer Charles Carlini has been alternating the Vocal Mania series between Birdland and the Zinc bar, down the street from The Blue Note. Though there’s nothing wrong with the Zinc, I nevertheless get the feeling that the two hosts / producers / stars save their very best guests for Birdland. Case in point, this month’s featured attraction is Lemvig, Denmark’s gift to the jazz world, the lithe and lively singer Sinne Eeg. Her latest album, with the Danish Jazz Orchestra, We’ve Just Begun, actually begins 2020 with some bang-up listening. (My favorite number is “Hvorfor er lykken så lunefuldm,” though I confess I have no idea what it means.) Alas, she won’t have the full orchestra with her in the Birdland Theater, but that one-man-orchestra known as John DiMartino will be well up to the challenge. Does anybody know how to say, “One more time!” (or even “Opa! Opa!”) in Danish?