Peter Anderson, Will Anderson, Molly Ryan: Songbook Summit: The Andersons Play Jerome Kern

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Peter Anderson, Will Anderson, Molly Ryan

Songbook Summit: The Andersons Play Jerome Kern

Symphony Space, NYC, August 16, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Peter & Will Anderson

The second of the four part Songbook Summit series created by the saxophone and clarinet virtuosos the Anderson Twins, Peter and Will, was dedicated to composer Jerome Kern. Molly Ryan’s delightfully unique vocal sound and style meshed wonderfully with the Andersons and the jazz trio, featuring Tardo Hammer on piano. Of all the composers of the Great American Songbook, Kern’s melodies lend themselves best to embellishment by jazz musicians. Photos of  jazz musicians, such as Charlie Parker and Art Tatum, as well as photos of performers including Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire were displayed on a screen during the performance of each song. In addition, the many Al Hirschfeld drawings that were also displayed made the show a visual delight. Clips of movie and television performances of Kern’s songs added to the fun. Interesting and entertaining stories about the composer were interspersed in this fast-paced 90-minute show.

Irving Berlin said you could define musical theater in two words, “Jerome Kern,” and some of the very best of his Broadway songs, including the “The Song Is You” and ”All the Things You Are” (both with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein) are included, as well as Kern’s two Oscar-winning songs “The Way You Look Tonight” (Dorothy Fields) and “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (Hammerstein). Ryan broke the glass ceiling for women with her emotionally charged, very moving performance of “Ol’ Man River” (Hammerstein). Particularly memorable were Peter Anderson’s performance of “The Folks Who Live on the Hill” (Hammerstein), and Will Anderson’s poignant clarinet work on “Yesterdays,” accompanied only by Hammer on piano. Ryan closed the very entertaining show by exuberantly performing “I Won’t Dance” (Fields).

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.