Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Jazz and Blues at The Trolley Stop Cabaret

By Doc Lawrence

Dynamite Duo, Theresa Hightower (L) with S. Renee Clark
It was Saturday night and showtime in Stone Mountain. The Trolley Stop Cabaret at the renowned Art Station presented a sizzling two hours of jazz, blues, Broadway show tunes along with some surprise popular music classics through the combined talents of Theresa Hightower and the virtuoso pianist, Atlanta’s acclaimed S. RenĂ©e Clark. Entertaining a jam-packed house, the duet sounded more like a full band with high-energy interpretations of songs made famous by Dinah Washington, Frankie Valle, Gloria Gaynor, Ruth Brown and Hank Ballard and The Beatles.

An established superstar vocalist who has been the main draw at Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton Buckhead for two decades, Ms. Hightower displayed amazing versatility with her selection of songs and unusual ability to sing romantic standards followed by upbeat dance numbers. Ms. Clark, no stranger to theater audiences with her piano arrangements for “Mahalia” and other musicals, is on par with greats like Errol Garner, Gene Harris and Nina Simone.

Quite a bargain with a modest cover charge that would set a patron back a hundred bucks in big city nightclubs.

 Towards the end, Theresa Hightower led the crowd in a journey back to the dances of the 60’s and 70’s including “The Twist,” “Mashed Potatoes,” “The Jerk” and one back breaker, “Four Corners.” Yes, many found the temptation to dance irresistible and the evening soon wound down with some nostalgic numbers.

I left knowing that the last time I had that much fun in a club was in New Orleans.

The Trolley Stop Cabaret cranks up again in June. See www.artstation.org for details. I’ll see you there.

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