Things were so hot at the Metropolitan Room on Tuesday night that by the time Gregory Generet and his four-man combo finished, it practically felt brisk by comparison as I walked out into the hot, sticky August evening. Generet is a jazz vocalist with a lush baritone voice. He has the vocal styling and physical mannerisms that make him part Sammie Davis Jr. and part Mel Torme. The evening was entitled, A Slow Hot Wind (as though we needed to be reminded it was hot in August in New York.) With tongue planted firmly in cheek, tropical music wafting from the band, the trumpet player mimicing a seagull on his horn, Mr. Generet invites us to join him by envisioning ourselves on an island. "Long Island, Staten Island, Long Beach Island."
<p> Generet's set consisted of 11 songs. The first couple of songs I didn't care for much. I was not familiar with the songs and was not able to ascertain their proper titles. However, with the third song, Generet hit his stride, a smooth version of the 1970s Van Morison classic, "Moon Dance." He had a willing, vocal audience with one woman yelling "oh yes, that's my song," as the intro to "Moon Dance" began to play. A middle age couple in front of me decided to take advantage of the romantic atmosphere continuing to nestle closer and closer to each other. The showman in Generet took full adavantage, winking and nodding at the couple.</p><p> Generet's rendering of the Bruno Martino song "Estanté" (using alternate lyrics by Jon Hendricks, subsequently titled "In Summer") was as effortless an example of sultry as I think you are going to find anywhere. His "Love for Sale" was intro'd by a walk down Memory Lane, or more accurately, 42nd Street, pre-Disneyfication. He painted the picture of a world of blue movie houses, hustlers and hookers. Generet's care-free and cavalier rendition of "Love for Sale" brought forth visions of a pimp with a cold heart and hot flesh to sell.</p><p>I didn't particularly care for Mr. Generet's delivery of the Burton Lane/Yip Harburg classic, "Old Devil Moon." Generet didn't seem to be in the same key as that of his rock-solid four-man combo. I know this is jazz but this didn't jive. By the second verse, Generet and the band seemed to be back on the same page, or at least in the same key.</p><p>And speaking of the four-man combo; <b>Christian Sands </b>set the keyboard ablaze with his nimble fingers. It was fascinating to watch him play, a toothpick protruding from his lips. <b>Matthew Rybicki</b> was on bass, <b>Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax</b> on drums and <b>Eddie Allen</b> on trumpet. These men were pros. </p><p>Generet is a talent I suspect we will see plenty more of in the future. The combination of his terrific voice, the ambiance of the Metropolitan Room at Gotham and the room’s friendly staff, made this a pleasant evening out. </p><p> Generet performed August 12-19, 2011 at the Metropolitan Room.</p>