Zoom Goes the Spider
This Spider’s life is a Cabaret of spirit, moxie, sultriness and all that jazz.
The theme for April’s Jazz Appreciation Month is women in jazz, in honor of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial. Here, we feature modern jazz songstress, multiple award-winner and 2017 Bistro Award-winner Spider Saloff, who has been entertaining audiences for four decades.
And the winner is…..Spider Saloff for Ongoing Jazz Artistry. The Award: the coveted Bistro Award — recognizes outstanding performances and contributions by members in the cabaret community; primarily jazz, cabaret and comedy.
Sherry Eaker has produced the beloved Bistro Awards out of New York City for 32 years. The former editor of trade publication Back Stage, the Bistros were born out of trade columnist Bob Harrington’s column Bistro Bits. What separates the Bistros from other New York award shows is that winners are notified in advance and must perform a song or routine when accepting their award.
Zoom Goes the Spider
“Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” sings femme fatale Spider Saloff in front of fellow honorees and attendees that included Bistro Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Darlene Love and musician Paul Shaffer. Singing “Slap That Bass”
from the George Gershwin songbook, the newly crowned Bistro winner and five time MAC Award-winner wooed the star-studded crowd at the Gotham Comedy Club; driving home the reason why she deserves this top honor.
“I was blown away when Sherry Eaker called to tell me I was receiving a Bistro Award. To me, it’s the coolest award — it’s a Press Award — and I am so beyond honored.” — Spider Saloff
Cabaret in Pop Culture
While Cabaret has been around for over a century; many of today’s generations first became aware of the genre through the 1966 Broadway show ‘Cabaret, its’ many revivals and through Academy Award-winning director Bob Fosse’s film Cabaret (1974) featuring Liza Minelli, Joel Gray and Michael York. The many musical revivals, especially Roundabout Theatre’s recent Tony Award-winning production (now on Tour), contribute greatly to keeping the genre top of mind; introducing newer generations to the performance category.
The 1940s and 50s in America brought us icons Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short. Frank Sinatra and more. Their cabaret hub – New York City – where legendary clubs as The Cotton Club, Café Society and The Copa Cabana set the stage for these Greats’ first important showcases. Flash forward to the 90s and Chicago-based, East Coast girl Spider Saloff.
Like most Cabaret performers, Jazz Songstress Spider Saloff began her career in acting. The former New Yorker attended a small fine arts college in New Jersey, continuing her studies in London. After acting in a few Broadway flops, she started doing cabaret.
“I always loved jazz and with cabaret, I never had to sing anything I didn’t want to. It was a complete creative outlet for me.” — Spider Saloff
Creative outlet indeed. Four decades later, the multi-talented vocalist has performed all over the world; recorded over nine albums; written and produced dozens of cabaret shows; countless songs and taught master classes (just to name a few credits). She can be heard around the world as the host/star on the syndicated public radio series Words and Music .
Known as one of the great interpreters of the American Songbook, Saloff is one of the rare officially sanctioned acts of the Gershwin Centennial — selected by the Gershwin family to perform in St. Petersberg, Russia for Gershwin’s Centennial in 2016. Her concert, Spider Saloff Sings Gershwin, toured the U.S. and headlined the St. Petersburg Gershwin Festival in Russia.
Spider’s Beginning Web
Spider’s big break came when she went to Hollywood to perform songs off her first recording 1938. According to Spider, old time New York agent Alan Eichler came to her show and was impressed enough to book her at treasured Michael’s Pub. He sent three important people her press kit, Bobby Short, Bill Allen and one other. Bobby Short became the ‘man’ who opened her door further along with his partner Bill Allen. Shortand Allen were co-owners of iconic Chicago cabaret and jazz spot, the Gold Star Sardine Bar. It was all up hill from there.
“Bill Allen liked to take risks,” said Saloff. He first flew her to Chicago in 1991 to play New Year’s Eve at the Chicago venue. One year later, Spider returned for a one month gig. That’s when Allen asked her if she’d move to Chicago for a steady headline one-year gig. In 1993, with a week’s notice, she picked up and moved to the Windy City to embark on what became an incredible career in the world of jazz and cabaret. And, she has never looked back! — Abbe is Socially Sparked. @sosparkednews @asparks01