In New York, you can’t keep a secret long. The word is out about jazz violinist Aaron Weinstein: He is not to be missed. The good news has now spread about this long-undercover sensation, the wraps have come off, and at the Metropolitan Room, where his juicy new act “Have Strings, Will Swing” has been packing them in like a box of chocolate cigarettes, he’s branching out with his own jazz quartet. He returns May 11 and May 23. Get there before they tear the doors off their hinges, hollering for more.
He’s the kind of lad who looks like he went to synagogue and did something naughty in the cloak room. His riffs astound. Sandwiching Harold Arlen’s “A Sleeping Bee” between “Last Night When We Were Young” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon” is the kind of Blue Plate special you used to get in the halcyon days of 52nd Street. As an homage to the diminutive Truman Capote, who wrote the lyrics to “A Sleeping Bee,” he even brings out a tiny mandolin, disproving my theory that a mandolin should never be heard outside of a gondola. A show-stopping Gershwin medley gives “I Got Rhythm” new meaning. He knows his business, and he’s hilarious, too. A long, diabolically arcane evaluation of his favorite fiddler is a riotous lead-in to Jack Benny, who could make a Stradivarius sound like chalk on a kindergarten blackboard. He eats, sleeps and breathes songs, and you never know what he’s going to do next, but he somehow miraculously makes music fresh and exciting–and keeps the audience in stitches at the same time. Example: He jams wildly in the tradition of Stephane Grappelli on “Slumming on Park Avenue,” first taking the melody so sweetly he gives the Irving Berlin classic a languorous new pace, then aiming at the moon in flight. Slumming, maybe, but in cashmere socks.