Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tony DeSare: Want You

By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 3.15.07
Buy CD: Want You

I almost didn't review this CD; it's borderline jazz, more like what you'd hear in a lounge than in a club or concert. 

But since I've covered at least half a dozen female singers in recent months, I must be equally fair to this new male vocalist. 

DeSare is well known in the New York area, where he attended college and formed his first trio. He's a vocalist who plays more than adequate piano, and he sounds a lot like Harry Connick Jr. — without the New Orleans accent — and strongly resembles John F. Kennedy Jr. 

That combination guarantees a significant female fan base for starters, and DeSare's excellent performance level also should bring the guys on board. 

DeSare's songwriting abilities, though, will ensure his breakthrough to the upper echelon. He wrote six of the tunes on this album, five teamed with bassist Mike Lee. The biggie he'll ride into fame is "If I Had Drew," from the movie "My Date With Drew." 

DeSare augmented his normal trio for this recording, adding Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), John Swana (trumpet), Bob Howell (tenor sax), Vic Stevens and Brian Czach (drums) and Tedd Firth (piano). Lee plays bass on every track. 

All the arrangement are tastefully done, and the few featured solos are quite good. DeSare uses the same gimmick that pianist Paul Smith has become famous for: Smith concludes every live set with a short, fast version of the Looney Tunes theme, while DeSare does the same with the tune "Five Foot Two," delivering various styles at a blazing tempo.

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