By: Sandi Durell
Grammy Award winner Steve Tyrell has lots to be thankful for as Bobby Short’s replacement during the season to be merry at the beautiful Café Carlyle, making this his 10th Anniversary in the room.
He’s an audience pleaser for sure with a large fan base that gets “That Lovin’ Feelin’ – the name of his up-coming 11th album soon to be released. With a knock out band of musicians (Quinn Johnson on piano; David Finck on upright bass; Bob Mann on guitar; Kevin Winard on drums; David Mann on saxophone and Joe Allen on keyboards), it’s like little Las Vegas crammed onto the small stage.
It isn’t that the gravel-voiced Tyrell wows with vocal wonder; it’s his earthy charm, jazzy cool style, and great song arrangements we love to hear, many of those songs now playing to audiences on Broadway in “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.” The groovy songs of Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil are featured winners – – “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, “ “Up On the Roof.” And Neil Sedaka gave instant approval (as per the recorded phone call – and will be featured with Tyrell on the album) in the slow jazzy version of “Laughter in the Rain.”
Of course, Sinatra winners “It’s Magic” – –the song to squeeze somebody to – – (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) and opener “Come Fly With Me” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn) are always favorites and a big centennial celebration will be in store next December to Sinatra at the Café Carlyle. Including Bacharach/David’s “This Guy’s In Love With You” and “I Say a Little Prayer” rounded out what Tyrell calls “The American Songbook II” – along with the song that changed his life, Ben E. King/Leiber/Stoller’s “Stand By Me.”
He offers up noteworthy historical information about the grand old days of the Brill Building and its resident songwriters in small cubby holes; the place where many of his friendships began with the music greats. And we get some inside scoop on the 17 year old Tyrell who left Houston, Texas and got his big break, hired by Florence Greenberg and Scepter Records, to produce.
Tyrell has lots of friends (and he does like to name drop) who come to cheer him on including Mr. & Mrs. Al Roker and George Steinbrenner’s granddaughter – singer, Haley Swindal.
The evening has very little to do with vocal technique or mellifluous sound and the overlay has a similarity in presentation, making it all very perfunctory. But for a holiday feel-good show of songs we love to hear, and some good food and drink, you might want to spend the big bucks at the Café Carlyle and celebrate the holiday season.
‘That Lovin’Feelin’ until December 31st. 212 744-1600 Café Carlyle, (35 East 76 Street at Madison Ave.)
*Photos: Michael Wilhoite for Café Carlyle