By Sandi Durell
This is Alexa Ray’s fifth residency at the Café Carlyle, where the baby voiced now newly engaged 32 year old makes every effort to please her many happy fans, friends and especially her always smiling, glamorous mom, Christie Brinkley (camera in hand).
Although the establishment’s kitchen is temporarily closed for renovation (no food, just drinks), the room was filled to capacity as the diminutive, sultry singer-songwriter, a free and easy spirit, with Carmine Giglio at her side on piano, presented an homage that she wrote to the room “I Got The Carlyle”/”I’m In With The Carlyle” to show her appreciation.
Alexa is a pop rocker with a unique sound and style and a poetic sense, and possesses very expressive hands! “Song of Yesterday” – a bluesy rock ballad, longs for the music of yesterday but obviously with a new imprint. A Nina Simone song, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” (Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus), one of her favorites, is delivered with a sultry essence. Moving along to a song for Mom, her biggest fan, she expressed it all in Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields’ “On The Sunny Side of the Street,” many of the tunes enhanced with harmonies by Giglio.
Joel makes her way to the keyboard to play some songs, dedicating “For Once In My Life” (Ron Miller, Orlando Murden) to her fiancé Ryan Gleason . . . “the love of my life” (lovingly smiling back at her from the audience).
A significant part of her repertoire is devoted to her father’s famous songs . . . “Why Should I Worry, “ Summer, Highland Falls” and an encore “New York State of Mind.”
She has her own kind of delivery that usually encompasses many yeah, yeah, yeah tags, even added to “Try a Little Tenderness” (Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, Harry M. Woods) which morphed into a rock, clap-a-long version. A highlight was Carole King/Gerry Goffin/Jerry Wexler’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and dedicated to Aretha.
With all the hoots and shouts coming from the opening night audience and, I’m told, a sold out run thru October 6, it’s obvious this gal is doing just fine!
Photos: David Andrako
Alexa Ray Joel – Café Carlyle, 35 East 76 Street/Madison Avenue, NYC www.cafecarlyle.com 212 744-1600.