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Steve Tyrell: That Lovin’ Feeling

| November 28, 2014

Steve Tyrell

That Lovin’ Feelin’

Café Carlyle, NYC, November 25, 2014

Reviewed by Elizabeth Ahlfors for Cabaret Scenes

Steve-Tyrell-That-Lovin-Feeling-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Entering his 10th holiday season at the Café Carlyle, Steve Tyrell, harbinger of the holiday season, started with four standards—”Come Fly with Me” and “The Tender Trap” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn), “It’s Magic” (Cahn/Jule Styne) and the Dorothy Fields/Jerome Kern song that brought him fame, “The Way You Look Tonight.” And then he took a different turn.

That Lovin’ Feelin’, heats up the stage as Tyrell remembers the 1960s and ’70s, pre-Father of the Bride. Before that film debut in 1989, his four-decade career was spent as an A&R man, songwriter, music supervisor, performer and producer, making music that can be called the Great American Songbook Part 2.

Growing up in Texas, he was influenced by R&B in the ’50s. At age 19, he took off for New York—destination the Brill Building—home for a new sound and beat with “On Broadway” by Tyrell’s new idols, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Another idol from the ’50s was Ben E. King, who joined with Leiber and Stoller with “Stand by Me,” and by now, the many in the packed opening night audience were singing along. Two tunes by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, “Up on the Roof” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” are followed by the night’s winner, the gritty “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (Phil Spector, Mann, Weill), the most-played song in BMI history.

Although “The Way You Look Tonight” was the biggest hit included in Father of the Bride, Tyrell notes that the runner-up favorite was “Chapel of Love” (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Spector). (His daughter is added in four-part harmony with herself as backup). As an encore, he gave a two-song salute to Burt Bacharach and Hal David, whom he calls his mentors.

Despite some vocal lapses in high tones, Tyrell must be credited with delivering his songs with precise phrasing and great audience appeal. He shows appreciation for the songwriters and also the audience, studying the room as he sings, pointing to friends, to celebrities, and obviously enjoying every minute. Didn’t the memorable Bobby Short do the same thing?

Tyrell, with musicians Quinn Johnson, Jon Allen, Kevin Minard, David Finck, Bob Mann, and David Mann, gives his audience That Lovin’ Feelin’ from standard swing and sentiment as well as the happening sounds of the sixties.

Steve Tyrell continues at Café Carlyle through December 31.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews

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