It Had To Be Deana
A LOVER’S CONCERTO: For lovers of the type of music performed by her father and his peers, and now given new life by her own interpretations, Deana Martin’s concerts are a must-see event. (above) On one leg of her ongoing tour, she sings with The Charlotte Symphony.
She says she was born to entertain…and watching Deana Martin wow the crowd at her live and lively show offers irrefutable proof that she’s right.
Having just wrapped up a triumphant five-night return engagement at Michael Feinstein’s New York nightclub, Deana is extending her Big Apple stay for one more day to celebrate her birthday here in the City where she was born.
Dean Martin was, and still is, adored by fans, friends, and fellow performers alike. Greg Garrison, the Producer/Director of his TV series, described him as “the cutest guy…genuinely sweet, nice and decent”. Orson Welles pronounced him “a prince of a fellow”. Everyone, of every stripe, seemed to gravitate to him.
Spending any time at all around his offspring, Deana, one quickly discovers that those very same qualities have been passed down from father to daughter — it must be in the genes — and the audiences attending her shows sense it from the moment she steps on stage.
Looking luminous in a different designer gown each night, her voice strong, smooth and perfectly modulated, Deana picks up the mantle of the Rat Pack and serenades her guests with a repertoire of songs made famous by not only her Dad, but other singers of his generation, as well.
MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY: (above and below) Deana makes her TV singing debut, as well as her first appearance on her father’s series, on the December 8, 1966 episode of The Dean Martin Show, with the two harmonizing on “Side By Side”.
She opens with “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” (a number her father debuted in the original Rat Pack flick Ocean’s Eleven) and closes with Dean’s signature tune, “Everybody Loves Somebody”. In-between, she puts her own stamp on such other Dino classics as “That’s Amore”, “Memories Are Made of This”, “You’re Nobody ’Til Somebody Loves You”, “Volare”, and “Return To Me”, and pays loving homage to “Uncle” Frank Sinatra (with “The Lady Is A Tramp” and “It Had To Be You”), Frank and Sammy Davis, Jr. (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”), Nat King Cole (“L.O.V.E.”), Bobby Darin (“Mack The Knife”), and Dinah Washington (“What A Difference A Day Makes”).
In each instance, Deana’s take on the material is fresh, yet of a piece with the original renditions. One suspects that if Dean, Frank, Sammy, et al. were still around, this is the way they’d be doing these gems today.
And little wonder: The numbers remain in good hands thanks not only to Deana, but also to the fact that she’s surrounded herself with some the finest musicians in the field: The splendid arrangements have been done by Vincent Falcone, who served as Frank Sinatra’s Musical Director, and who accompanies Deana on piano, in addition to leading the rest of her backing ensemble of pros, comprising Lincoln Millman on bass, Mike Meacham on drums, and venerable jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, whose numerous gigs over the years have included a long stint with The Tonight Show orchestra (when Johnny Carson was still based in New York), and who, at age 86, is as hip as ever.
Interspersed among the musical selections are some of Deana’s recollections of growing up with her Dad and around his pallies, plus a few well-timed jokes, all delivered with the kind of warm, witty and breezy air that made audiences so comfortable with her father and likewise, works the same magic for her.
I REMEMBER YOU: They first met while Deana was guest starring on the 1969 edition of Dean Martin Presents The Golddiggers, and over the years, they came to know one another on the set of Dean’s series. So when Michelle DellaFave (right, above and below), a part of the regular cast of The Dean Martin Show for four years as a member of both The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, went to see Deana (left, above and below) perform at Feinstein’s in New York this past Friday, it was a blissful reunion. At one point during the show, Deana asked Michelle to join her onstage, along with two others from the audience, as a backup trio on Deana’s performance of “Memories Are Made Of This”. Following the show, Deana and her husband John Griffeth graciously invited Michelle and her fiancé to join them and a small gathering of their friends for a fun evening of chatting and reminiscing.
Another highlight of her current show is a preview that Deana gives her audience of a couple of tracks from her new, forthcoming album. One of those numbers is the first that she’s ever done in which her own vocals are paired with a vintage recording of her father’s. The resulting collaboration, on Cole Porter‘s “True Love”, is a most fitting one, both for its apropos theme and the fact that it was a song that Dean crooned many times on his show, both solo (as a couch song) and in tandem with a female partner. For the 21st Century, who better to fill that role than Deana? During her live show, the duet is set to a touching montage of images of Deana and her father, assembled by Deana’s husband, John Griffeth.
Her current act also affords Deana the opportunity to introduce her fans to a brand new number, but one evocative of a traditional jazz standard. Entitled “Read Between The Lines,” and composed by Joseph Baldassare, it’s a stylish, bluesy and memorable ballad that Deana imparts with such tenderness and conviction that it’s easy to foresee it catching on as a breakout hit for her.
While Deana and her husband John have clearly put a huge amount of thought, time and effort into honing this production to make it the crowd-pleaser that it is — and everything about it is impeccably rendered, from the lighting and sound, to the staging and presentation — they’ve accomplished it all by maintaining that toughest of show business tricks — making all of the hard work appear seamless and transparent to the audience.
Anyone who loves Dean and his music will embrace Deana and hers. It might be the legend of Dean Martin that would draw you to Deana’s show, but during the performance and long after you’ve left, you’ll realize the joy of having watched a fine talent in her own right. And just as her father’s easygoing manner, charm and panache made you a lifelong fan, so, too, will you be forever won over by this scion of an entertainment legend.
In this day and age, nobody else can give you that thrill. Only one can bring it home still. It had to be you, wonderful Deana, it had to be you.
On behalf of all of your Pallies at Dean, Golds and Dings and The Golddiggers Super Site, we wish you a Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
To see some excerpts from Deana’s show, click the Play button below:
For a look at Deana’s upcoming itinerary to find out when and where she might be performing at a location near you, click below:
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