Gregory Generet has a voice so strong and forceful that it seems to erupt from deep within. As he performed at the Metropolitan Room on Wednesday evening, several inner storytellers jostled to be heard in a show made up equally of jazz, soul and blues. In his more volcanic performances, your impulse was to run for cover.
Mr. Generet’s show, “A Marvelous Night,” takes its title from Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” a song he stamped with an intense erotic heat. But the number that really stunned was a rendition of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” in which he played the role of a sidewalk pimp importuning pedestrians near Times Square.
“Do you remember when 42nd Street wasn’t Disneyland?” Mr. Generet asked, by way of introduction. “I remember it too.”
Do you remember when 42nd Street wasn’t Disneyland?” Mr. Generet asked, by way of introduction. “I remember it too.”
“Love for Sale,” which Porter often called his favorite song, has been associated mostly with women since it was introduced by Kathryn Crawford and a trio called the Three Girl Friends in the 1930 show “The New Yorkers.” But when sung by a man hawking “appetizing young love,” it becomes far more pointed. And as Mr. Generet barked it, wearing a leer while beckoning audience members, it sounded dangerous, especially at the end when he crowed the title phrase like a barnyard rooster proclaiming his supremacy.
Another side of Mr. Generet is a crooner in the tradition of Billy Eckstine, Al Hibbler and Johnny Hartman. When he sang a slow, seductive “Embraceable You,” he poured out warm, dark honey. But could you trust this sweet-talking lover man? Not really.
Backing Mr. Generet was a strong quartet led by Mike Renzi, whose pianism is rich enough to evoke the colors of an entire Nelson Riddle orchestration. Rounding out the ensemble were Willie Jones III on drums, Gerald Cannon on bass and Mark Gross, whose slippery saxophone solos raised the temperature an extra degree or two.
In his encore, Willie Dixon’s “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” Mr. Generet abandoned suavity to unleash a raw blues growl as feral as that of Muddy Waters, who popularized this swaggering virile boast.
Always there was a seam of humor, as though Mr. Generet was amused by his studly alter ego. Whether the tone was caressing or menacing, his self-awareness only added to the show’s depth.