Steve Ross: Travels with My Piano

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Steve Ross

Travels with My Piano

Birdland, NYC, June 4, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Steve Ross

How many performers can be referred to as “The One and Only”?” “The one and only Steve Ross” is one of that very small group. He is in many ways the last of a breed of urbane, elegant, and sophisticated performers who can be alone on stage with only a piano and captivate an audience for 90 minutes. After 50 years as a performer, Ross never looked or sounded better than in his latest show, Travels with My Piano, at Birdland. He transported us on a musical tour—to Los Angeles, London, Paris, Vienna, Cuba, Brazil, and his favorite place of all, New York City. He surrounds the musical numbers with amusing anecdotes and personal memories of the locations he sings about. As always, he is the consummate pianist. He even steps away from the piano for a flawlessly performed hilarious Yiddish joke.

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Ross opened by reciting the lyric of Noël Coward’s “Why Do the Wrong People Travel?,” before performing the song Fred Astaire danced to upside down in Royal Wedding, “You’re All the World to Me.” A haunting vocal on “99 Miles from L.A.” followed “Two for the Road.” After singing “I’m in Love with Vienna” (Oscar Hammerstein/Johann Strauss II), Ross had the audience hum along with him to another Strauss composition, “Merry Widow Waltz.” He paid tribute to French troubadour and songwriter Charles Trenet by performing two of his songs in French: “La Mer” (Albert Lasry) and “Que reste-t-il de nos amours?” He stayed in France for a thrilling display of his virtuosity on piano with a medley of French songs including, in his words, the iconic “Hymme  d’amour,” “The Poor People of Paris,” and “La Vie en rose.

” He ended by doing a medley of songs about Paris by Cole Porter that segued into two of his  Porter New York songs: “Take Me Back to Manhattan” and “I Happen to Like New York.” The encore was an especially moving “On My Way to You.”

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.