Baby Dee

Baby Dee is a fiftysomething pianist, harpist, songwriter, transsexual, former church organist, and ex-circus attraction from Cleveland, whose résumé also includes New York City street performer and tree surgeon. Dee had to give up the latter line of work when one of the patients fell on a house, but soon after went out on another limb, playing harp for Antony and the Johnsons and launching a recording career that last year yielded a kind of greatest-hits live album (Baby Dee Goes Down to Amsterdam) and Regifted Light, mostly classically inspired instrumentals played on a Steinway concert grand. From alternately sparkling and melodramatic Regifted ditties like "Coughing Up Cat Hair," it's obvious Dee is not your average classically trained, campy medievalist who favors cabaret, flirts with outsider/avant-garde expression, and once reportedly had a gig as an hermaphrodite. Dee also can juxtapose a lovely, elegant ragtime-etched instrumental with a comically nasty ode to incontinence and quite serious tales of domestic abuse. Dee's singing is a curious blend of Antony Hegarty, way-off-off Broadway, Tiny Tim, ancient court jester, and some blues guy turned to light opera, all of which seem to surface on "The Pie Song," a Regifted vocal number on which Dee repeatedly demands a pastry treat. Which you're likely to get, in one form or another, at Dee's performance. (Photo by Tore Hallas)
Mon., June 18, 9:30 p.m., 2012

 
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