Vocal Standards Artist's Concert Performance Reviews

Steve-Tyrell-ThatLovinFeelin-mediumI have to admit to a bit of trepidation…

At first I was jazzed to learn that Steve’s visit to Austin was timed with the release of That Lovin’ Feeling —  his new LP. There’s nothing like catching an artist performing new material he’s really jazzed about.

But when I saw the album promo materials emphasizing Tyrell singing “standards of another kind”… I have to admit I was concerned.

“Hound Dog”… Really?

After delivering 10 albums over nearly twice that many years that are spectacular exhibitions of mostly classic Tin Pan Alley standards, Steve moved uptown to 49th and Broadway on his 11th LP release … delivering 15  tracks of next generation ’50s and early ’60s era pop/R&B classics —  the Brill Building sound. [Read more…]

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Tony B crushed it…

…this week at the Austin City Limits Moody Theater.

The always energetic 86 year old road warrior (Tony’s been taking the stage 200+ times a year for over 60 years) was hitting on all vocal cylinders Wednesday night and delighted the near capacity crowd — delivering 25+ classically rendered TB hits for almost 90 minutes.

Maybe it’s touring with his daughter…

…(Antonia Bennett is opening for him on this tour) or maybe it’s the oxygen they pump into Moody Theater (joke) … whatever the reason Tony Bennett is clearly getting better with age.

I saw TB about ten years ago when he was on his 75th birthday tour. He put on a similarly great, high energy show that night at Bass Concert Hall (Austin) but I swear Tony’s vocal range and dexterity last Wednesday was superior. The man is incredible! [Read more…]

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Last Saturday…

…at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto CA., I caught the second leg of the “Davi in the Desert” tour.

OK, there’s no official “Davi in the Desert” tour, but Robert Davi followed his sold out, three show Vegas debut at the Venetian Showroom back in February (review here) with another amazing performance in the hot, hot desert east of LA.

Much the same and completely different…

Though the setlist was similar to the Venetian gig, and RD brought the same passion and performance flare to the stage at Soboba that he delivered in Vegas, “Davi in the Desert part 2” had a completely different feel to it.

More than just the difference in venue, the motif and style of the event was more “close-in” … more intimate and the resulting show felt like a different experience. [Read more…]

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I spent last weekend in LA…

It was a harried three days of LA traffic (I hate “the 405”), great food and wonderful music.

‘Nough said about the traffic — still trying to forget the two hours I spent driving from LAX to Hollywood — and I’ll chat up the great meals we partook on a DwTRP post later this week, but the music … man, the music was amazing.

After an unforgettable dinner at Il Pastaio — the first of two excellent Robert Davi restaurant recommendations — we hit the Bar Nineteen 12 at the Beverly Hills Hotel to catch Luca Ellis at his regular Thursday night gig.

Bar Nineteen 12 is a classic top drawer hotel bar, beautifully appointed and in this case set up quite well for a live music act.  Luca was, in a word … impressive. [Read more…]

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…in the house Sinatra built

A couple of months back, I was presented with the opportunity to catch Robert Davi’s headline act last Friday night at the Venetian and jumped at the chance.

Experiencing Robert’s passion play On The Road To Romance tribute to Frank Sinatra in any venue would be great. Getting a chance to see him perform on the hallowed ground that once was the Sands Copa Room — now the Venetian Showroom — was just too good to pass up.

As high as my expectations were for this gig, I have to say that I was overwhelmed … blown away by Davi’s performance.

I’ve listened to Robert many times before from the Davi Sings Sinatra – On the Road to Romance LP, but seeing him perform with his great stage band  — pouring out his passion for Frank’s music, the man and the Rat Pack era through these wonderful ballads was special.

Especially in this place…

This place — the playground of Sinatra, the Rat Pack and their many friends during the Summit years. It may have a new, fresh face but when Robert took the stage and pushed into his classic Sinatra set list you could feel Frank and his gang in the room … in the ether. It was a special evening. [Read more…]

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Natalie … she’s kinda sneaky

An ad in the paper Friday morning caught my eye. It featured a big photo of Natalie Cole and highlighted her upcoming event with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. I thought, ‘cool, I need to get this on my calendar’ and then noticed the date for the show was 2/10!

You’d think someone that calls’s himself the Vocal Standards Guy would KNOW when freaking Natalie Cole was performing in his home town. I mean, I regularly scour web sites and trade rags looking for standards vocal artists that might be taking the stage within reasonable FLYING DISTANCE for god’s sake!

Needless to say I quickly snagged a ticket at the Long Center website and ended up experiencing maybe the best live performance I’ve ever seen. [Read more…]

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Bobby landed the gig squarely at the corner of Rhythm & Blues…

…and that was just fine. Though Caldwell has turned out a couple of standards albums, far and away his hit singles come from the R&B realm and he pretty much stayed there for most of his One World gig last Saturday.

Bobby draped songs he wrote for Al Jarreau, The Commodores and the like in and around some of his own chart toppers — none bigger than his claim to fame … the huge hit: “What You Won’t Do For Love”. I thought an Earth, Wind and Fire concert was going to break out at any minute! 😉

Hey, the R&Bness was to be expected, perfectly OK by me (my wife was in heaven!) … the mixed bag part comes from obvious production issues that I’ve never experienced at One World before.  [Read more…]

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Not sure what to expect…

Bobby Caldwell traverses a variety of genres with aplomb. Jazz, R&B, Pop … and Big Band Standards.

It will be interesting to see where he lands most of his song list tonight with his performance at One World Theatre in Austin.

Bobby is huge in Japan — having traveled quite a bit in Asia, I’ve always been fascinated with artists that are as big or bigger in Asia than they are here in the US.

Jonny Blu is another guy that fits into this category … though I suspect Jonny’s doing pretty darned well here in the US these days (I think he has a new album coming out on Valentines Day).

In any event, I’ll give you the low-down on the Bobby Caldwell gig early in the coming week … have a great Saturday night everyone!

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