Despite all of her mischievous, little-girl affectations, there is something quite regal about Dorothy Donegan, the pianist-singer who opened a four-night engagement at the Catalina Bar & Grill Thursday night.
During her nearly two-hour opening set, Donegan displayed great authority as she played a series of tunes from the standard repertoire. Yet, her serious approach to the piano was offset by her vocals, most of which she performed in a variety of imitative styles, and her witty asides, frequently delivered as she would reach a pinnacle of pianistic achievement.
One can't help but wonder where she got this approach to entertaining. And one can't help but hope that there's still some left over for others to get.
In a word, Donegan was delightful.
Too infrequently, entertainment and jazz don't mix, but Donegan, with all the accouterments of a career spent working lounges and small nightclubs, has mastered a method that doesn't shortchange the music.