Tony DeSare: Radio Show (2009)
For persons born before 1990, radio was the primary medium for hearing new music. Not only was the form of communication more widely used on the consumer end, but before mergers and buyouts, the announcers and deejays were as much a part of the listening experience as the songs themselves. Tony DeSare tries to recapture that atmosphere with Radio Show.
A pianist, vocalist and composer, DeSare has made several national television appearances. In addition to performances in major cities to promote his recordings, DeSare has appeared with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for the 2005 Harold Arlen Centennial, and starred in the long-running off-Broadway musical, Our Sinatra. Along with DeSare and a talented ensemble of musicians, Radio Show features Saturday Night Live veteran Joe Piscopo, lending his voice as the deejay to introduce several tracks.
DeSare goes solo to open "Get Happy," but is soon joined by the band. Drummer Brian Czach gets to show off a little, but it's the horns and DeSare's piano that shine for most of this song.
Vocalist Jane Monheit joins for a duet of "Bizarre Love Triangle," with DeSare adding some elegant string synth. The two voices complement each other beautifully, accented by Czach's rim shots. DeSare and Monheit sing one verse in Portuguese, adding to the song's charm.
DeSare puts a cool jazz spin to the Philip Bailey/Phil Collins hit "Easy Lover." Accompanied largely by soft horns, including muted trumpets, DeSare puts a swinging touch on the pop hit, with a trombone solo from Wayne Goodman. Voice and piano are alone on DeSare's "To Touch a Woman." Melodically, it's something of a brooding piece, but lyrically, it's powerfully romanticsimilar to, but not as contradictory as, Billy Joel's "Always a Woman."
"Johnny B Goode" takes on a Jerry Lee Lewis feel as DeSare revs up the intensity for this rock and roll classic. His rapid-fire vocals are upstaged by his high-speed piano, with the keys put through a blistering pace during the middle break.
Though the mood of Radio Show is designed to recapture the age when radio was king, only a handful of songs are from the Golden Age. In addition to covering more recent pop songs, DeSare performs five original pieces. The result is a diverse collection, unified by Piscopo's spoken introductions.
Track Listing: Radio Show Intro; Get Happy; Hello Friends; A Little Bit Closer; Spinnin' Stacks o' Wax; Bizarre Love Triangle; All or Nothing at All; Lazy River; Playin' Some Really Heavy Hits; Easy Lover; To Touch a Woman; We Got a Dedication; Johnny B Goode; We Interrupts This Broadcast; The Times They Are A-Changin'; The Power of Music; A Stranger's Eyes; Hallelujah I Love Her So; Don't Forget to Keep Dreamin'; Dreaming My Life Away; Goodnight; Prelude; Fade to White.
Personnel: Tony DeSare: piano, vocals, synthesizers, Rhodes; Mike Lee: bass; Brian Czach: drums; Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar (2, 4, 8, 9); Richard Padron: guitar (6, 11); Brian Charette: Hammond B-3 organ (2, 8, 9, 18, 19); Tedd Firth: piano (6); Glenn Drewes: trumpet; Dominick Farinacci: trumpet, solo trumpet (6, 8); Wayne Goodman: trombone; Andy Farber: alto saxophone; Nathan Childers: tenor saxophone; Jay Brandford: baritone saxophone; Erik Bergmann: announcer (1); Jane Monheit: vocals (6); Joe Piscopo: radio DJ.