PostHeaderIcon Two-Legged Spider Who Sings

One thing Chicago has too little of is cabaret clubs. Locals wanting to catch Ute Lemper, Ann Hampton Callaway or Patti LuPone must head to high-end venues, such as Symphony Center, Ravinia and the Harris Theater, or fly to New York.

However, our town is blessed with a renowned cabaret artist in its midst, jazz stylist Spider Saloff. Spider sports a finger-popping, figure-swaying delivery style all her own. Once you hear her impeccable timing and exquisite phrasing on a song, you are fully under her spell. She can chase all your blues away as well as commiserate over a lost love.

She has appeared in intimate rooms like Katerina’s on Irving Park, the Green Mill and the sorely-missed Gold Star Sardine Bar in Chicago but also the tony Algonquin Room, Michael’s Pub and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

She has been featured with full symphony and jazz orchestras, as she will this weekend (February 26th) in Naperville with Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra. The program is devoted to the songs of the great Ella Fitzgerald. Spider will be joined by Freida Lee and Dee Alexander as they perform Ella’s original arrangements. Contact for details.

I had the pleasure of hearing Spider sing in a River North living room on Valentine’s Day before 30 other lucky listeners as part of the Lakeshore Salon Series. This is an imaginative concept worthy of your support (I will post next week about another alternative home venue).

Spider opened her 45-minute set with “It Had to Be You” and Jeremy Kahn supplied noteworthy piano accompaniment. She soon turned to scat phrasing, conveying the song’s upbeat emotion with her phrasing and facial/hand gestures. She then turned to what she described as the “most perfect ballad ever written”, “Embraceable You”. The afternoon featured the classic American songbook of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Johnny Mercer and ended with “My Funny Valentine”.

If you wish to experience Ms. Saloff’s artistry closer to home, head to Katerina’s on Saturday, March 13. Go to

6 Responses to “Two-Legged Spider Who Sings”

  • spider says:

    Wow. This is great! Thanks so much!

  • Vicki Webster says:

    Tom, as a major Spider Saloff fan for years, I couldn’t agree more — she’s the top.

  • Vicki Auditore says:

    Another Vicki weighing in…also a Spider fan for years. Ditto on sorely missing the Gold Star Sardine Bar. That’s where I first heard Spider, and I have been hooked ever since!

  • l. emma jung-beeman says:

    Tom, thanks for this review…really enjoy reading your reviews. I’m just rejoining the civilization, and look forward to learning a lot more about these wonderful artists, and recommendations from you. I know you have an impeccable taste in the arts.

    l. emma

  • Erin Kirkley says:

    This blog is wonderful. I really like to read these type of blogs additionally they are informative also.

  • chat says:

    Nice post , i like it , this is my first time i visit your blog and i found it interesting . I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here ! keep up the good work ! Thanks !

Leave a Reply