Peter Anderson, Will Anderson, Molly Ryan: Songbook Summit: The Andersons Play Hoagy Carmichael

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Peter Anderson, Will Anderson, Molly Ryan

Songbook Summit: The Andersons Play Hoagy Carmichael

Symphony Space, NYC, August 23, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Molly Ryan

The third of the four-part Songbook Summit series created by the saxophone and clarinet virtuosos Peter and Will Anderson was dedicated to the songs of Hoagy Carmichael. Carmichael’s melodies work well for jazz musicians. Jazz saxophonist Bud Freeman remarked, “You don’t have to improvise with a Carmichael melody, the improvisations are already in them.” Peter Anderson’s jazzy arrangements and Molly Ryan’s (pictured) vocals work perfectly on Carmichael’s songs.

The show includes, among others, videos of Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, The Mills Brothers, and Aretha Franklin performing the songwriter’s material. Will Anderson’s informative and entertaining biographical comments are interspersed throughout the show. For each of the numbers, a photo of Carmichael or of a vocalist who performed the song is displayed on screen.

The show opened with the band playing “Riverboat Shuffle.” Ryan’s opening number, “Jubilee” (music co-written with Stanley Adams; lyrics: Adams) featured solos by the Andersons and each member of the stellar jazz trio—Tardo Hammer (piano), Phil Stewart (drums), Chris Nicolas (bass). Ryan then did an up-tempo “The Nearness of You” (Ned Washington). Her performance of “(Up a) Lazy River” (Sidney Arodin/Carmichael) featured a super-fast saxophone solo by Peter. After Will told the story of the composing of “Stardust” (lyrics: Mitchell Parish), it was performed by Peter on saxophone combined with Hammer’s piano. Will’s haunting clarinet made his duet with Hammer of “Lazy Bones” (lyrics: Johnny Mercer), a song Carmichael claimed to have written in three minutes, memorable. Hammer dazzled with his solo of “Heart and Soul.

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” Ryan’s unique sound and phrasing were especially effective in her performance of “Two Sleepy People” (lyrics: Frank Loesser) and the closing number, “Georgia on My Mind” (lyrics: Stuart Gorrell).

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.