Gary Lynn Floyd: When Gary Met Harry

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Gary Lynn Floyd

When Gary Met Harry

Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, North Hollywood, CA, September 28, 2014

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

Gary-Lynn-Floyd-When-Gary-Met-Harry-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Hearing a Harry Warren melody is always a pleasure. Hearing a Harry Warren melody sung by Gary Lynn Floyd adds immensely to the pleasure, as indicated by the audience sighs each time a less-familiar verse turned into a much-loved standard.

Floyd is a flawless singer, never hitting an errant note in terms of his vocals or his easy rapport with his listeners, whether standing at a microphone in front of his three-piece band or sitting at the piano accompanying himself with simple elegance and grace.

One of the evening’s standouts was a song pulled out of Warren’s “trunk” by the composer’s granddaughter, who was present — “Welcome to the Party,” for which Warren wrote both words and music. One of the last songs he ever wrote, it features a gorgeous melody and lovely lyrics (e.g., “Step right in and have a dream on me”) about living life to its fullest, even late in the game—a song on which Floyd did a stunning job.

He was smooth and gentle on a flowing rendition of “Serenade in Blue” (lyrics by Mack Gordon), delivered “The More I See You” (Gordon) in a sweet, sincere reading that made it sound very contemporary, and ventured into the audience and danced with one of the women while delivering a strong rendition of “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” (Johnny Mercer). He also shone on a powerful, deliberate version of “At Last” (Gordon), offered a solid take on “An Affair to Remember” (Leo Robin), was endearing on “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me” (Al Dubin), and did full justice to the always beautiful “You’ll Never Know” (Gordon).

He had fun with “Zing a Little Zong” (Robin), done with sincere warmth, and he added a bit of rhythm and blues to an expressive version of “I Only Have Eyes for You” (Dubin) and a Latin beat to a smooth “About a Quarter to Nine” (Dubin).

Floyd got strong backing from Robbie Gilman on piano, Nicolas DeGaulejac on drums, and Doug LeBow on bass, who served as co-musical director with Floyd.

Elliot Zwiebach

Elliot Zwiebach loves the music of The Great American Songbook and classic Broadway, with a special affinity for Rodgers and Hammerstein. He's been a professional writer for 45 years and a cabaret reviewer for five. Based in Los Angeles, Zwiebach has been exposed to some of the most talented performers in cabaret—the famous and the not-so-famous—and enjoys it all. Reviewing cabaret has even pushed him into doing some singing of his own — a very fun and liberating experience that gives him a connection with the performers he reviews.