By Sandi Durell
Making his fifth appearance at the Café Carlyle, John Lloyd Young has transitioned to a new kind of cool . . . shades (a must), suit, tie and the standard facial hair that rounds out the look, and has moved away from leather and painted finger nail last I saw him.
The Tony Award winner forever raised to historic heights as the original Frankie Valli in the recently closed Jersey Boys (after an unheard of 12 years on Broadway), has most assuredly grown older and wiser. But his superior heart-rending tenor vocals and technique of producing seamless falsetto hasn’t suffered, not in the least. He’s better than ever. . . even with a lingering cold.
Give ‘em what they want! He smartly begins his set with Jim Morrison’s R &B “The Spy” . . .”I know your deepest secret fear. . . I know everything” and quickly segues into the beautiful standard “Stardust” (Hoagy Carmichael) and “Since I Fell For You.” (Buddy Johnson). He has an unmistakable presence that guides him with a deep emotional connection, not only through these songs but noticeably with Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.”
Jersey Boys standards are premium audience pleasers – “Sherry” (which he sung 2300 times) gears up participation from the eager crowd along with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” – a song he’s sung for many luminaries at various events. And did I mention, Young is an advocate for the Arts which began several years back when he participated on a Cultural Mission to Cuba.
And then it’s time to show off his own writing skills which he does admirably in “Slow Dawn Calling” written with his piano, keyboard musical director Tommy Faragher, along with other originals.
An unexpected highlight, written by Mexican songwriter Gabriel Ruiz’ “Usted” (sung in Spanish) – muy romantica!
An evening filled with easy rock and R & B rhythms is, in itself, a recipe for enjoyment. Now add the style and vocals of John Lloyd Young and you’ve got a winner!
The other members of the talented band include John Putnam on acoustic and electric guitar, Paul Socolow on bass and Eric Kalb on drums. Through February 25 www.thecarlyle.com (a Rosewood Hotel) 35 East 76 Street at Madison Avenue, NYC
Photos: David Andrako