|In The Spirit Review|
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" -- Even with the enviable vocal shadows of Streisand and k.d. lang, Marieann Meringolo brings a dynamism all her own to the meticulous lineup of songs she chooses. She is a persuasive performer who can step on a stage and deliver songs with natural authority. She is currently proving this in her Annual Holiday Celebration at the Metropolitan Room.
Many holiday tunes are so familiar that audiences listen with half an ear, but when you hear her potent "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," you have to sit up and pay attention. If a strong, belting vocal delivery is your preference, Meringolo has it. Prefer sensitive intensity? Just listen to "Mary, Did You Know?" (Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene), a song recorded many times by country singers, Meringolo's rich, resonant tone brings in a sophisticated layer of wisdom over the obvious religious tradition.
Vocally, she builds moods of soulful stillness and open-throated fortitude, while staying clear of artificial embroidery. She brings in lighthearted moments including a charming duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," with musical director/pianist Daryl Kojak, and David Friedman's comical, "My Simple Christmas Wish (Rich, Famous & Powerful)." This leads into her special guest moments with Lennie Watts; their "Silent Night" is stunning. Also memorable are Friedman's, "Just in Time for Christmas," and Karen Benedetto's “The Perfect Gift ('I’m Giving Love This Christmas): expressing, hopefully, the sentiments of the season.
Meringolo is accompanied by Daryl Kojak, Boots Maleson on bass and Brian Woodruff on drums, providing musical direction connecting with both the performer and the song, for example, perking up "Silver Bells" with an audio backdrop of frenetic energy that reflects December's city streets.
Hear what I hear, an impressive vocalist with poise, command and vocal chops that will not quit, New York's award-winner named Marieann Meringolo.