Steve Tyrell at the Cafe Carlyle (2017) - New York City Article

Steve Tyrell at the Cafe Carlyle (2017)

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Steve Tyrell at the Cafe Carlyle (2017)

Dec 28, 2017

As has been observed before, the ironic thing about Steve Tyrell is that even though he’s easily one of the most successful living masters of the art of making records - both as a producer and a vocalist - he is even better when experienced live, especially in the warm, intimate setting of the Carlyle. This is more true than ever during the holiday season, when the sweet sensations of nostalgia for home and family and the good times of years gone by become even more palpable, as lovingly rendered by Mr. Tyrell with his mellow, delightfully raspy baritone.

Steve Tyrell
The Café Carlyle
35 E 76th Street, (212) 744-1600
Through December 31

The current show at the venerable cafe (where he succeeded Bobby Short as the room’s number one seasonal headliner 13 years ago) is perhaps his best, offering a generous amount of brand new songs and arrangements, many of which are from a forthcoming album of romantic ballads scheduled to be released in time for Valentine’s Day. As with my current favorite of his albums (the 2008 Back to Bacharach) the new album promises to be especially wonderful because of Mr. Tyrell’s close personal and professional connection to these songs, their composers, and the great artists who have sung them before, like Van Morrison’s “Someone Exactly Like You,” Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” and the classic country song “Always on My Mind” - Mr. Tyrell was there when Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson wrote it and when Elvis recorded it.

Special credit must be given to the singer’s first-rate accompanying sextet, pianist and musical director, Quinn Johnson, bassist David Finck, guitar and arranger Bob Mann, drummer Kevin Winard, saxophonist David Mann, and keyboardist Jon Allen, most of whom have been with him since the beginning of the Carlyle run in 2005. As a unit, they can handily switch from the the old school 4/4 swing groove of such jazz standards like “On the Sunny Side of the Street” to the 16th note triplets of Jackie Wilson’s vintage 1958 hit, “To Be Loved.”

photo: David Andrako

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)