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ALLABOUTJAZZ MAGAZINE

October 2004
Published: September 30, 2004

“Blind to our faults, we're subject to love's compounded assaults!/Each failed union engraved on our mind, defines the future lovers we find/and duplicity severs the ties that bind... “
This is from the preamble to Geof Loomis' Boperetta, playing the first Tuesday of every month at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Involving seven actor/singers and a five-piece band led by Loomis on piano, Boperetta is a musical with scat-sung dialogue, interspersed with several jazz arias in plain English. A rundown of Act Two (Sept. 7th) had the rickety creative drive of a work-in-progress, with dramatic subject matter leavened by generous comic relief. The scatting, which transpired often without the aid of music, took on the enigmatic quality of a Creole. It also presented a unique performance challenge, with each player having to act, “sing” and gesture simultaneously to convey dramatic meaning. On top of that, Loomis' melodies are not to be sung in one's sleep; Susan Kramer did an admirable, Dinah Washington-esque job with the climactic ballad, “A Woman's Heart”. The story itself could use further development, although seeing both acts together could remedy this. One thing is almost certain: nothing of the kind is being done elsewhere.