Dee and Spider’s Cocktail Time

This is what Dee Alexander had after podcast FOLLOWING THE LIGHT, that airs the week of May 1, 2018!

 

Pesto Chicken Salad 

 

4 roasted chicken thighs

2 cloves crushed garlic

1/2 cup sweet red pepper, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup chick peas

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, cut in quarters

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup black olives

2 Tablespoons Pesto

2 Tablespoons Mayo

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

salt and black pepper

 

Roast the chicken thighs at 350 for an hour with garlic and salt and pepper under the skins.

Remove skin and cut into small pieces.

Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly and chill.

Serve on leaves of bib lettuce.

 

 

 

Spider’s Special Dry Vodka Martini

Vodka

Ice

Lemon juice

Lemon slices

 

Fill a large shaker with ice and vodka.  Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.  Shake until your hands can’t move.  Pour into a beautiful Martini glass and garnish with lemon slice.  Enjoy, enjoy!  Meow!

 

 

 

Spider Saloff is a Pod Person

 

Chicago Jazz Magazine

 

Spider Saloff is a Pod Person

3.4.2018

|

Randy Freedman

 

Spider Saloff is an internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist based in Chicago. In late 2017, Saloff began a music, talk and comedy podcast titled Spider Saloff’s Spider’s Web. A podcast is similar to a radio program, with the key difference being that listeners can tune into their favorite shows at their own convenience and listen to podcasts directly on their personal computer or media player. The term “podcast” is a combination of the brand name “iPod” (a media player developed by Apple) and “broadcast,” the traditional means of receiving information and leisure content on the radio or television. When the two words were merged, the terms podcast, podcaster and the art of podcasting was born.

 

Prior to the introduction of her podcast, Saloff was perhaps best known for her contributions as cohost of National Public Radio’s Words and Music. She also participated (along with fellow vocalists Frieda Lee and Dee Alexander) in the national touring Ella Fitzgerald tribute, “The Three Ellas,” and is known for her live musical tributes to Tin Pan Alley icon George Gershwin.

 

The All Music Guide’s Alex Henderson wrote, “As a vocalist, Saloff has a clean, uncomplicated, straightforward approach. On ballads, Saloff can be a vulnerable, tender and an introspective torch singer; on up-tempo material, the Windy City resident can be fun and playfully swinging.

 

“Because Saloff has devoted entire concerts to the Gershwin songbook and obviously has an extensive knowledge of the classic Broadway theater music of the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s, some have described her as a cabaret artist. But even though Saloff has attracted her share of attention in cabaret circles and has performed at some cabaret-friendly venues, she prefers to be categorized as a jazz vocalist—and, to be sure, her approach is more jazz than cabaret.

 

“Saloff scats and improvises—two of the main things that jazz vocalists are known for doing. The people who have influenced her the most are definitely jazz-oriented, including Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Julie London. When Saloff scats, one can tell that she has paid very close attention to Fitzgerald’s scatting (which isn’t to say that she is actually emulating Fitzgerald, or anyone else). Saloff has cited the innovative Betty Carter as one of her favorite singers, but unlike Carter, Saloff isn’t part of jazz avant-garde and doesn’t go out of her way to be abstract or cerebral. Saloff’s work is much more accessible by mainstream standards.

 

“Saloff isn’t a native of the Windy City. She’s originally from the Philadelphia/southern New Jersey area and lived in New York City before making Chicago her adopted home in 1994.”

 

On her podcast, Saloff usually sings brief excerpts from the well-known and often-recorded jazz standards that she is best known for. This both avoids her the difficulty of fitting them into a relatively brief podcast, as well as having her podcast fully respect the copyright fees that the composers would then be entitled to. On one podcast though, in early 2018, Saloff sang some complete songs that she had written herself. Two of them I was very familiar with, having heard Saloff sing them both in person and on CD.

 

Saloff introduced them on the podcast. “The first one I want to play for you is a title cut from a CD I did

 

called Like Glass that I co-produced with guitarist Steve Ramsdell,” said Spider. “This song is interesting. At least it’s interesting. It’s about losing someone in your life, about someone just drifting away from you. I remember I started writing this song in O’Hare Airport, coming to me all at one time. This is what happens. I usually start with the lyric and then suddenly the music starts appearing. I remember humming the melody into my cell phone in little segments and by the time I landed in San Francisco the song is finished. So this is that song that is the title of my CD, Like Glass.”

 

The podcast format offers the artist and audience a chance to bond and achieve understanding beyond a typical concert format. Here Saloff can explain in whatever detail she likes, both her creative process, as well as demonstrate the fruits of her labor, with the next best thing to a live performance. Saloff takes full advantage of the opportunity to explain to her listeners the thought process that goes through each element of developing a new song as well as its meaning to the songwriter and its intended meaning for her listeners.

 

“This next one is also from the recording Like Glass, and it’s funny that it could be taken in a lot of different ways, but it’s basically about seduction,” continued Saloff. “It’s a warning about someone who may be out there seducing you and you don’t even realize it.” [Song starts]

 

You better watch yourself with that one. He’s got a way you won’t suspect.

You had better watch yourself with that one.

You won’t know what you should protect.

At first it seems like he’s the sad one, and someone left him lost and blue.

But you will find out he’s the bad one, and soon there’s nothing left of you.

 

 

Saloff has a reputation as being one of our foremost interpreters of the music of George Gershwin. She is also a personal friend of the Gershwin family. She shared some insights on her podcast. “I’ve always been fascinated by the story of George Gershwin. He came from such a poor family on the Lower East Side of New York City. They had four kids, the oldest being his brother Ira, who is very quiet and shy and very smart. George was the second in line and he was sort of a wild kid who was out getting into trouble. He was big and athletic and very outspoken. Even though they were poor, the family thought it was very important to have music lessons. One day they were bringing a piano up to the third floor where they were taking it through a window on pulleys, and Ira Gershwin was in the corner shivering in his boots because he did not want to take piano lessons. Legend has it that George came upstairs and sat at the piano and played an entire piece. They said, ‘Sorry Ira. George is the one who’s going to get the piano lessons.’ Ira just wiped his brow and said ‘Whew!’”

 

Saloff then explained to her podcast audience, “One of the reasons that I became so prominent in my career is because of something very serendipitous. It happened in the early ‘90s while I was still living in New York and my musical partner Ricky Ritzell and I were still performing in clubs. Through a lot of complicated circumstances we were able to meet and love Leopold Godowsky III, who is the nephew of George Gershwin. He is a wonderful man, incredibly generous. He loved what we were doing musically. Consequently, he asked me to sing at his mother’s 85th birthday party in New York. Yes, his mother being Frankie Gershwin, George Gershwin’s baby sister. Frankie Gershwin was an incredibly wonderful, candid, lovely woman, who had been a singer in the ‘20s.”

 

Saloff later confirmed this with Frankie when she got to know her. “I asked her if she had a debut in Paris and this was our conversation.”

 

“Oh yes I did,” Frankie Gershwin replied.

 

“Somebody really famous produced that. I cannot remember who it was,” Saloff commented.

 

“Noel Coward—no—it was that other one, Cole Porter,” said Gershwin.

 

“Well, I heard that George played for you on opening night,” added Saloff.

 

“He did,” said Frankie, “but then he left. I guess he had better things to do.”

 

“When I opened the Gershwin (centennial celebration) concert,” explained Saloff, “Frankie not only attended, but she introduced me on stage and came up and sang in a red lace dress. She was incredible, and I was thrilled to know her. And she did hail her brother George, the genius.”

 

Podcasting has become a surprisingly popular new mode of communication. Personally, I listen to many different podcasts each week, hosted by diverse and interesting personalities on a variety of subjects and find them stimulating. These include, but are not limited to: Chael Sonnen on mixed martial arts, Adrian Wojnarowski on pro basketball, Rachael Maddow on politics, Steve Austin on professional wrestling and, yes, Spider Saloff on jazz. I urge you to give these or many other great podcasts a listening session very soon.

 

spiders web

Click for Spiders new podcast

SPIDIE’S CHICKEN CASSOULET

SPIDIE’S CHICKEN CASSOULET

 

SERVES 8

 

8 CHICKEN THIGHS (WITH SKINS AND BONE)

12 LINKS HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE (REMOVED FROM CASING)

5 LARGE GARLIC CLOVES (CHOPPED)

1 LARGE ONION

6 CARROTS

5 CUPS OF FRESH CHOPPED KALE, MUSTARD GREENS OR COLLARD GREENS

(OR 4 CUPS FROZEN GREENS)

4 CANS OF WHITE BEANS (WITH THEIR BRINE)

3 CUPS DRY WHITE WINE

FRESH OR DRIED ROSEMARY AND SAGE

SALT AND PEPPER

 

MAKE SMALL MEATBALLS OUT OF THE SAUSAGE. PLACE THEM IN SAUCE PAN WITH ABOUT AN INCH OF WATER. BRING TO BOIL AND LET THEM STEAM TILL JUST THE OUTSIDE IS A BIT BROWN. DRAIN AND PUT ASIDE.  THIS IS JUST TO REMOVE SOME OF THE FAT.

CUT ONIONS AND CARROTS INTO LARGE CHUNKS.  WASH AND CHOP GREENS INTO LARGE PIECES IF YOU ARE USING FRESH GREENS.

 

PUT ALL THE INGREDIENTS INTO A LARGE CASEROLE AND BAKE COVERED AT 350 FOR 1 HOUR.

 

 

SPINACH BOURSIN SALAD

SPINACH BOURSIN SALAD

SERVES 8

1 LARGE BAG OF FRESH BABY SPINACH

1 CANS OF MANDARINE ORANGES

1 CHUNK OF BLACK PEPPER BOURSIN CHEESE

½ CUP THINLY SLICED RED SWEET PEPPER

¼ CUP THINLY SLICED WHITE ONION

¼ CUP OLIVE OIL

2 TABLESPOONS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

 

TOSS ALL INGREDIENTS (EXCEPT FOR THE CHEESE) INTO A LARGE SALAD BOWL.  TOSS AND PLATE. PUT CRUMBLES OF THE CHEESE ON TOP OF EACH SALAD.

 

This Spider spins a magical web

The PANTAGRAPH

Bloomington, IL

Thursday February 22 2018

Dan Craft

This Spider spins a magical web

Spider Saloff: Not your typical très chic jazz singer handle.

“It’s a college nickname that would’t go away,” confesses the former New Yorker who switched home bases to Chicago in 1993. It came about, and stuck, because … well, because “I have very long legs and arms, very long hands, and a very short torso.”

Just like that certain member of the arachnid family.Lo these many years later, she calls the nickname “one of the best things that ever happened to me … I love it, love it.”

For fans of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter and all the other Great American Songbook providers, the same could be said for what’s in store for us Saturday night in Illinois Wesleyan University’s Memorial Center.When she comes along, we’ll definitely want to sit down beside her, Miss Muffet-style.

The occasion: Saloff in an intimate, cabaret-style concert that is serving as a fundraiser for Autism McLean, which this year is celebrating its 15th anniversary supporting McLean County individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“She has a wicked way with a  lyric, and a glint of self-controlled mischief,” wrote a New York Times critic, happily ensnared in her web.”She’s slyly sophisticated, easily accessible,” observed her hometown Chicago Tribune, also ensnared, willingly. “One of the finest jazz singers working in this or any other city.”

In addition to Saloff’s center-stage performance, the evening will also include a silent art auction featuring 70 items from local and nationally recognized artists.Among those items are film actor Val Kilmer’s laser-cut steel piece, “Love Forever”; a piece from digital painter Leigh Barbier, who has worked for Lucasfilm Ltd.  on several “Star Wars” sequels; and local sculptor Rick Harney’s Abraham Lincoln bas-relief sculpture in cast resin.

“I’m delighted to be coming back,” says Saloff, who has passed our way in grand style several times over the past two decades, including, most memorably, as the star of an all-Gershwin concert with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

This time, she’s bringing with her “two of my favorites from Chicago — Jeremy Kahn on piano and Jim Cox on bass. Both of these guys are fantastic, and have toured internationally with me as well.”

Between Spider’s vocals and the instrumental support, she promises a complete transportation to what could pass for one of the top jazz/cabaret rooms in Chicago, New York or Paris.

Saloff herself has long been ranked as one of the world’s premier Gershwin interpreters, as well as one of its finest jazz vocalists … period.

For starters, she was handpicked by the Gershwin family as one of the sanctioned performers on the Gershwin Centennial Tour, which began in 1996 with the 100th anniversary of Ira Gershwin’s birth and gained momentum in 1998 with the 100th anniversary of brother George’s arrival.

During this period, she headlined the biggest Gershwin festival in the world: the St. Petersburg Gershwin Festival in Russia (the family’s ancestral birthplace).

“They were a really wild audience there … they were standing on their chairs screaming,” she recalled in an earlier GO! interview.

Today, Spider Saloff still a Gershwin cheerleader, as well as one of the country’s most vocal boosters of the Great American Songbook in general … a passion that led to her co-creating and co-hosting the internationally syndicated NPR series, “Words and Music” (no longer aired ..,. but succeeded by her own current weekly podcast, “Spider’s Web” at www.blubrry.com/spidersweb/).

She calls her interpretative approach as the aforementioned songbook “presented in a very contemporary way, with jazzy stylings and some stories behind the songs.”

In her New York days, Saloff was a regular at such landmark venues as Michael’s Pub, the Russian Tea Room, the Algonquin, Feinstein’s and Birdland. After the Chicago transplant in 1993, you could find her anywhere with an ear for good music, from the legendary Green Mill to the Fairmont Hotel.

These days, you’ll likely find her at new and/or currently happening venues like Winter’s Jazz Club on the Chicago Riverwalk (April 10); the famous downtown seafood restaurant Catch 35 (April 14); and “the beautiful and spectacular and glamorous and very, very chic” PianoForte on Michigan Avenue, where she’ll be doing her new one-woman Peggy Lee tribute show in its Chicago debut (April 8).

For her trek downstate this weekend, Spider assures us she’ll be spinning a musical web guaranteed to make us her willing prey.

BYO curds and whey?

No, she says.

“Just come prepared to have a whole lot of fun.”

 

 

 

The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee

She still remains a music icon, Miss Peggy Lee.  Singer, songwriter, actress, star of film and televisibistro 1on and as co-creator and vocal star of “Lady and the Tramp” was the first person to win a lawsuit against Disney, Lee was a trailblazer!  Spider Saloff pays homage to the smoldering understated style of Peggy Lee, tracing her story from her humble beginnings through the glamour of the 1950’s and 60’s and her continued chart breaking recordings.

 

The concert includes her classic jazz hits as well her pop music classics.  Saloff presents all of this with her unique comic wit and a contemporary twist that will appeal to audiences of all ages!

 

The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee can be presented with piano, bass and voice, or with quartet or quintet.  

Featured songs:

 

Fever

Lover

Why Don’t You Do Right?

The Best is Yet to Come

Is That All There Is?

Black Coffee

He’s a Tramp

 

“Peggy Lee was the superb jazz-pop singer smoldered in concert and on record, consistently affirming the power of musical understate.  Chicago singer Spider Saloff, a seasoned and admired cabaret artist, will pay homage to Lee. Slyly sophisticated, easily accessible, Saloff stands as a kind of ideal.”

Chicago Tribune

 

The Memory of All That: Gershwin Tribute

orchid

One of Spider’s most beloved and critically acclaimed works is her Gershwin concert.

She was chosen by the Gershwin family as one of the sanctioned acts of the Gershwin Centennial.  Saloff toured the concert nationally to established venues such as Feinstein’s in NYC (which Michael Feinstein attended).  Internationally, the show played in London and headlined the St. Petersburg Gershwin Festival in Russia and continues to garner raves from audiences and the press.

 

The concert features Gershwin classics alongside rare pieces provided by the Gershwin Trust specifically for Saloff.  The concert includes personal stories about the music and the fascinating life of the Gershwins.

 

The Memory of All That can be presented with piano and voice, with trio, quartet or quintet.  And can be presented in a full program for full symphony orchestra.

 

Featured songs:
They Can’t Take That Away From Me

S’wonderful

Embraceable You

Someone To Watch Over Me

I Got Rhythm

Love is Here to Stay

 

 

“How could anyone find anything new to say about such classics? Saloff effectively strips away the familiar turns of phrase to which this music has been subjected for more than half a century, which renders the Gershwin songs as crisp, lucid and plain to the ear as they must have sounded generations ago.”

Chicago Trubune

 

 

 

Swell Party: Cole Porter Celebration

 

Spider Saloff, the image of a modern day “flapper “, captures the jazz age in her celebration of Cole Porter. spider saloffHe was the toast of the jazz age and the ultimate party animal, Cole Porter! The concert features a collection of music from the composer/lyricist that has remains timeless to this day.
Saloff creates a wildly fun yet perceptive look into the life of the controversial genius and major figure of the American Songbook. Porter classics will be presented but Saloff with a contemporary twist but with a flare of the 1920’s and 30’s.

Song choices will range from the familiar to the obscure.  And the tales of Porter’s personal life are told with wit detail.  It is a tribute to Porter that is beyond compare!

 

Swell Party can be presented with piano and voice, with trio, quartet or quintet.  And can be presented in a select program for full symphony orchestra.

 

Featured songs:

Night and Day

So in Love

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To

Everytime We Say Goodbye

 

“If there is a greater, more electric and sensitive singer on the planet than Spider Saloff, my ears eagerly await.”

    -Rick Kogan

                                        Chicago Tribune/ WGN Super Station

 

 

Irving Berlin: The American Dream

fire

Rising up from his life as a poor Russian immigrant to world fame, Berlin stands as the essence of The American Dream.  His body of work covers 6 decades.  With a personal endorsement from the Irving Berlin family, Saloff presents a touching and beautiful portrait of Berlin’s life and music, filled with funny and amazing antidotes of the songwriter’s life and career. Berlin truly lived the American Dream and was an amazing influence and motivator during the years of both World Wars.

Irving Berlin can be presented with piano and voice, with trio, quartet or quintet.   

Featured songs:

 

Blue Skies

Cheek To Cheek

Puttin On The Ritz

How Deep Is The Ocean

Let’s Face The Music

There’s No Business Like Show Business

 

“I and cannot tell you how moved I was by the way you turned an anthem into a love song in your rendition of “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.  It was very personal as if you knew that “Show Business” was after all my father’s serenade to the business he loved.”

_ Mary Ellin Barrett

                                        Irving Berlin’s daughter

 

 

 

Spider Saloff’s Sondheim

Spider SaloffThe concert is a retrospective on the life of Stephen Sondheim and a collection of songs by America’s most celebrated, living composer for musical theater.  Saloff will take a fresh approach to Sondheim, capturing the art of popular songs which stand alone, apart from the musicals they were composed for.

 

Saloff will perform many of the beloved classics along with a few rare gems. She’ll interweave both jazz and theatrical treatments of the songs and storytelling presented with her own special unusual twist for an unforgettable evening.
Sondheim can be presented with piano and voice, with trio, or quartet.

 

Featured songs:

 

Comedy Tonight

Some People

Ladies Who Lunch

Losing My Mind

Broadway Baby

 

“I’ve heard most Sondheim numbers numerous times, but I found myself paying closer attention to the lyrics given Spider’s unique and powerful interpretation. Her inclusion of a couple of lesser known Sondheim numbers from films provided even Sondheim fans with a wider look at the breadth of work of this American legend. Saloff doesn’t just sing Sondheim, she lives and breathes him thru a full embodiment of rich interpretation!”

                        –Dr. Paul Lisnek,

                                                Broadway in Chicago

                                                Comcast Network