- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2003

Jason Mraz is a seasoned musician. He has sold nearly a million copies of his major label debut and toured the world indefatigably during the past year. Still, judging from his sold-out headlining gig Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club, the Mechanicsville, Va., native has yet to absorb an important rule of performing: You can have too much of a good thing.

Mr. Mraz’s enjoyment of scat singing, the vocal style popularized by Ella Fitzgerald, has been evident throughout his young career, whether in the studio or on the stage. Tuesday night, he managed to insert scat solos into at least 12 of the 15 songs he performed. About midway through his set, he performed a 10-minute scat song: It was entertaining enough for the first few minutes, but before long you were praying that he’d utter something, anything, that resembled a word.

Playing many of the songs off his major label debut “Waiting for My Rocket to Come,” Mr. Mraz also included some older songs such as “0% Interest” and a cover of the Hall & Oates chestnut, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” a vestige of his days of playing the San Diego coffeehouse circuit.

Mr. Mraz’s five band mates wove their way effortlessly through blues, jazz, rock and even ‘80s power-pop jam sessions throughout the two-hour set.

For all the band’s talent, however, the evening’s highlight came when Mr. Mraz took the stage alone with just his acoustic guitar. Minus the band and the bebops, his critically praised vocal and musical talent finally had an opening to shine through.

Performing “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” the song that put him on MTV and the music charts, his powerful, Broadway-style voice and precise guitar playing dispelled suspicions that he is destined to be a one-album flash-in-the-pan. Mr. Mraz has the musical chops to stick around for a while.


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