Always on the outlook for new talent I found myself at the Triad on West 72 Street to see a young performer, Aja Nisenson, in her one woman show “Piccola Cosi” which will be repeated on July 15th and August 19th at 7. She is backed up by a terrific jazz trio on piano, bass and drums – Joe Nagle, Pete O’Connell and Yuriy Prilutskiy.
They warm up the audience with a wonderful jazz arrangement of “The Days of Wine and Roses” and we are all set to hear some more wonderful arrangements of standards when Aja – a beautiful young woman in her twenties with curly black hair looking very much like Vivien Leigh would look if she were wearing a simple black top, black slacks and sneakers arrives and simply begins to tell her tale of living in Italy where she hoped to pursue a career singing jazz and where she met a series of Italian lotharios ready to help her lose her virginity.
Aja is quite an original. She is beautiful. She is funny. She is innocent. She is sexy. She is feisty. She is stoic. And someone to keep your eye on. She seems to want to do stand up – mostly sitting. She is a tease, singing bits and pieces of some great songs (“Fever”, “Night and Day” , “Besame Mucho” and “Paper Moon”), only to continue her saga with her incredible portrayals of the men in her life while in Italy: Carlo, Ricardo and Renzo to name but a few. With a face seemingly made of rubber, with detailed gestures and various vocal intonations Aja becomes all of these memorable men. She has perfected the art of aping their speech patterns, gestures and tics.
But she is also a great comic singer with a legit voice. When she sings “My Funny Valentine” she does so commenting with what her mind is thinking as she is singing. Starting off operatically she then experiments with other variations, much to our delight.
Aja is someone that would probably flourish on a show like Saturday Night Live. She has an instinctive humor, split second timing, great looks and could probably skewer some pretty high profile Italian men to boot while continuing on with her own stable of Italian studs.