Tamela D'Amico: Classing Up the Joint

Tamela D'Amico with Billy Vera

It's easy to romanticize the old-fashioned class of New York. We think of Woody Allen films reverently captured in black and white, the jazz of Charlie Parker and Central Park in the fall. In Los Angeles, it's hard to come by images like this. We have nouveau riche embarrassments like The Shahs of Sunset. We have gaudy new homes with columns that don't even try to look like they were needed structurally. We have Angelyne

So naturally, Angelenos are thankful for Tamela D'Amico, jazz vocalist extraordinaire. In a world where sex tapes grant red carpet access to people who can't even spell the word "pathetic," we'll take class wherever we can find it. She didn't climb onto a casting couch or a really bad reality show to get where she is. She doesn't stumble down the sidewalk in pink pleather clutching a Pomeranian. She wears gowns, son. She believes in hard work. She also has something that The Girls Next Door don't; talent.

When she's not on tour, she plays around town. She records albums, she writes, produces and directs, and by God she does a lot of photo shoots. She's held her own on stage with Billy Vera. I should give you fair warning though. She often plays at Catalina Jazz Club, and while I got in "free" on a press pass, I still had to cough up $30 just to sit and sip coffee. Not cool, so save your shekels for those shows.

Her hair is styled like a 1940's pin-up, her sound is all wet martinis and big band swing and the girl has style. Quietly defiant against the conventions of the city, she's never felt the urge to have yellow hair, tangerine skin, plastic surgery or bare midriff. This girl is old-fashioned in the good way, like chocolate malts and Frank Sinatra. And we can say that she's ours, Los Angeles. Did she come from New York? Admittedly, yes. But she chose to come here. She's classing up the joint.