TONY DeSARE does musical Seratonin at the Birdland Theater
When I review a show, I take notes in a little notebook, and I usually put little stars next to numbers throughout the set that stand out as particularly wonderful.
When I came home last night from the Tony DeSare show at Birdland, I opened my notebook and saw something that looked more like a map of the Milky Way. Almost every musical number had one star, sometimes two or three, and I believe the only reason every entry had no stars next to it was that I was trying to be conservative with my praise.
Turns out Tony DeSare deserves the praise.
Mr. DeSare is an extremely popular singer-pianist (or singer-pianist) who travels the world, performing The Great American Songbook in symphony halls and nightclubs. He is a well-known performer and expert on the Frank Sinatra canon, something that may have started with (or was, at least, informed by) his New York work in a long-running cabaret revue called OUR. SINATRA. Now the world has no shortage of men fascinated by Frank Sinatra, who sing Sinatra, who want to keep the Sinatra legacy alive (as well as other men of the era who sang in the genre) and that’s wonderful . So when a man wants to play the piano and sing music from that particular catalog, it’s extremely important that the man brings something special to the table, because a copy is just a copy, and copies of Sinatra can be found everywhere. Tony DeSare is not a copycat, and Tony DeSare actually brings something special to the table – he brings himself.
Mr. DeSare has a talent to be reckoned with, whether he works with his fingers or his voice. Honestly speaking, he could leave the piano behind and just stand at the mic and sing (as shown last night in a superb performance of “One For My Baby” during which he was accompanied on guitar by Edward Decker), or he could put a different singer on the mic and just play the piano, his virtuoso fingers flying over the keys in herculean efforts to make beautiful music (as observed throughout his seventy-minute program). So when Tony DeSare employs both of his talents at the same time, what audiences get is medical-grade joy. Except it doesn’t stop there. Tony DeSare is also a songwriter, and a sensation, as proved last night through three wonderful self-taught compositions, “New Orleans Tango” (which is so sexy that a person might have trouble breathing during the performance of DeSare), “Paris Always Will Have You” (which should be a nightclub standard sung by everyone about two minutes ago) and “Always Sunny When I’m With You” (which should be a theme song major of cinema, as soon as someone in the film the industry pulls together and succeeds).
So, even though Tony DeSare’s aesthetic draws inspiration from the music of the past, it’s not a retro show that he presents. This is a modern music program performed by a modern artist who happens to have an affinity (and deep understanding) for Cole Porter and Sinatra, as well as Ray Charles and Prince – the performance of “You Don’t Know Me” was a highlight of the night, but the treatment of the bluesy, funky, pop song “Kiss” was a revelation. Indeed, all of DeSare’s treatments are perfect, as he consciously decides when to move forward, like the “Kiss” treatment, or engage in the perfect balance of old vibes and new flavors, leaving us with enough what we already know and give us enough new to make the listening experience exciting. DeSare’s entire musical evening is the epitome of exquisite musical enjoyment, while he himself is just this simple, suave, sweet dude who enjoys playing to a packed house and jamming with his fellow musicians. , each belonging on stage with him because each of them is able to match DeSare’s excellence in a way that will inspire spontaneous outbursts of applause and cries of grateful disbelief. That’s what people come to Birdland for – masterful musical storytelling with no frills or shy disguises, straightforward technical excellence, and the feeling of being in the presence of a great performer and performer.
Pure medical grade joy.
Tony DeSare’s monstrously incredible and terrifying band consists of guitarist Edward Decker, bassist Dylan Shamat and drummer Michael Klopp.
Tony DeSare will perform two shows tonight, July 30, at the Birdland Theater at 7 and 9:30 p.m. For more information and reservations, visit the Birdland website HERE.
THIS is Tony DeSare’s website. Make sure you don’t miss Tony’s regular online posts on Facebook HERE, Instagram HERE and YouTube HERE.
Photos by Stephen Mosher