Tony DeSare

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Tony DeSare

Birdland, NYC, August 12, 2017

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Tony DeSare

Tony DeSare returned for a far-too-infrequent visit to the wonderful jazz club Birdland where his career began. The musical dynamo, both pianist and vocalist, lit up the room with non-stop energy and sheer joy. Backing him up in superior fashion were Ed Decker (guitar), Steve Doyle (bass), and Michael Klopp (drums).

The evening really had no organizing idea, unless it was just a love for music and especially the piano. Several numbers featured DeSare’s virtuoso playing, from his classic “I Love a Piano” interpretation jumping between ragtime and boogie woogie, and a six-minute tour-de-force instrumental that ranged through the centuries from Bach to Coldplay.

Other numbers tossed melodies around from musician to musician, including a playful “Somebody Loves Me” and a swinging “Just in Time.

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” “Deep in a Dream” served as a beautiful vehicle for Decker’s artistry.

A surprisingly emotional moment grew out of a jingle DeSare was commissioned to write for a Yamaha dealership.

It inspired him to write a truly moving song about fatherhood, one so good that it won the sponsors over despite the fact that he didn’t include any of the keywords they had requested.

Winding up the show with an electric “Great Balls of Fire” that included audience participation and some impressive foot-playing on the piano. DeSare sent the audience out energized and smiling. Hopefully, his next return to Birdland won’t be after such a long absence.

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Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."