By Tom Alvarez, Indianapolis Performing Arts Examiner
July 31, 2015
“Darrian Ford: The Music of Sam Cooke”
Broadway performer (“State Fair”), dancer (Alvin Ailey), television actor (HBO’s “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”) and recording artist Darrian Ford made his Cabaret at the Columbia Club debut Friday, July 24, the first of two night engagement. Accompanied by his music director John Cicora on guitar, Kael Myboa on piano, Tim Ipsen on bass, Aflonzo Jones on drums and Jaymes Osborne on background and additional vocals, Ford presented “Darrian Ford: The Cooke Book: The Music of Sam Cooke” to a sold-out crowd.
Cooke (1931-1964) was a singer-songwriter and recording artist, known as “The King of Soul.” He had 30 U.S. top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964 and was known for his distinctive vocals and his importance to popular music.
Ford, a non-stop ball of energy as evidenced by the heavy sweating he did throughout his show, did not impersonate Cooke but rather captured his essence through a more than worthy interpretation of many of the late singer’s best known songs. Infusing each song with his own dynamic stylings, Ford’s set list included “Another Saturday Night,” “Wonderful World,” “Chain Gang,” “The Best Things in Life are Free,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “Bring it on Home to Me,” “Cupid” and “A Change is Going to Come.”
Along the way, Ford, who projected a warm and charming personality, introduced songs with background about each as well as information related to Cooke’s career and his impact on popular music.
Ford’s encore consisted of his own original tune “Brother’s Keeper,” which will be on his first CD, “The New Standard,” which will be released in August, as well as two more Cooke hits, “You Send Me” and “Ain’t That Good News.”
After seeing Ford’s show, it occurred to this writer that if James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, then this gregarious, irrepressible performer wasn’t far behind.
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