By Sandi Durell
“I’m one lucky guy” says Grammy and Emmy Award winning Steve Tyrell as he expresses both his gratitude for a dream life as a producer of recordings for some of the biggest and best in the industry – and that includes Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Linda Ronstadt, most recently Kristin Chenoweth’s The Art of Elegance album, and so many, many more.
His nice and easy style of delivery is akin to being invited to join him in his living room for a night of music. The show is filled with highlights from the soon to total a dozen different albums he’s recorded, the upcoming one soon to be released in February – “Shades of Ray” – a tribute to the great Ray Charles.
Aside from the musicality he brings to a stage, he’s always filled with stories about how it all happened and his remarkable career. Yes, there’s a lot of name dropping but this is one guy who has the right! Imagine a 19 year old kid getting in a car leaving his home town Houston and heading to New York to be in the music business back in the early 60s. It all began for him with Hal David and Burt Bacharach (his mentor) and Dionne Warwick. And so, he opened the show with the songs that were a transition from the Great American Songbook composers to a new era of more contemporary sounds like “The Look of Love,” “This Guy’s in Love” and “I Say a Little Prayer” – albeit he makes a point of saying to listen to Aretha’s version of the latter song.
The upcoming “Shades of Ray” album was front and center including Ray’s first hit “Hallelujah” as Tyrell segued to a blues tune called “Danger Zone” (1962, Ray Charles Berlin album) with some very astute contemporary lyrics . . . “the world is in an uproar…danger is everywhere…” (written by Michelle Leonard, Martin Fliegenschmidt, Florian Peil and Lenna Kuurmaa) that made a real impact.
Stories abound as Tyrell moves from producer to vocal artist in films (Father of the Bride – Parts I and II) where he’s heard singing classics “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Crush On You” (Something’s Gotta Give with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson). And let’s not forget, “Sunny Side of the Street,” his recorded song the astronauts heard waking up each morning in outer space.
Yes, you get to hear a lot of tunes and the exceptional musicians he surrounds himself with who all get a chance to be highlighted and riff away throughout the almost 90 minute show – Steven Feifke on piano, Lyman Medeiros on bass (musical director), Bob Mann on guitar and also as arranger, Bryan Carter on drums and Blood, Sweat and Tears’ Lou Marini on sax and flute.
The food is great, the music par excellence – what more could you want for the holidays but a night at the sumptuous Café Carlyle with Steve Tyrell!
Photos: David Andrako
*Steve Tyrell recently recorded a version of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (the “Mr. Rogers” theme song). Here’s a teaser on Instagram and here’s the full song via Spotify.
Steve Tyrell – Café Carlyle – 35 East 76 Street at Madison Ave. NYC
December 3 thru 31 www.thecarlyle.com