So what does one of the very top selling male artists ever have to offer us this time? A live album, from Broadway. It hit #1 on the Jazz Charts. This came from recordings during a 15-day sold out run on Broadway, specifically on July 30th and 31st of 2010, at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Check it out on DVD, CD, BluRay, etc., or right here on Spotify!
"We Are In Love"kicks things off with the crowd ready to go and happy to be there. The band plays in and Harry starts up. It's a simple crooner's song of love between two people, and what I'm sure makes for a really great song live. His voice is steady as always, and gives us a nice little start to the show.
Harry finally welcomes us into the evening at this point, thanking everyone for being there for the closing night. He did this 20 years ago at another Nederlander theatre, and is thrilled to be back to entertain this crowd. Neil Cane from St. Louis is introduced on bass as well as Arthur on the drums from Texas. The piano starts up for the next song, "Besame Mucho." This track is slated at 11:15, and one minute in, we're just getting some skat instrumental playing. At four minutes, we're hearing more of the same. It all feels improved (largely the piano - the drums and bass have pretty much found their steady beat). Around 5:20 the rest of the band, including a sax and some strings join in, and Harry's back to singing. This time, is that gorgeous Spanish melody that this song gives, and it's really quite beautiful for his voice. Songs in other languages require more emotion with the voice for total understanding, and here he's nailed that. The English almost feels flat.
Oh he kills me when he says he doesn't understand the other songs he sings in other languages - he just gets the emotion. I love and hate him for that. Anywhos, next up he talks a little about "Thou Shalt Not," a show he wrote the music for. I do love how cool he is just in speaking voice alone. "The Other Hours"is one of the songs from that show. It makes for a good song all on its own. I've never seen the show it's from, but for a song to do so, and (hopefully) also fit in with a storyline, is a nice accomplishment for a writer.
He's never recorded this one, but wants to showcase this great string section of the back, and starts up with "How Insensitive." Don't hate me, but there are even Sinatra songs that take on this low tone that I don't necessarily enjoy. The deep voice isn't the best light for a crooner, as you want these handsome men to be light hearted, not in this sad mode.
"Come By Me"picks up the pace just a little, mostly in piano. There's some great beat playing here, really showing off a little jazz feel that I'm sure had the audience tapping their toes. The band kicks back in eventually to party with him, but the piano would have done just as nicely.Harry goes on after that to say that Guys and Dolls is the great musical, if you're going to pick one, and launches into
"My Time of Day/I've Never Been In Love Before." Some really very pretty songs from the show, if you've never (or you have) seen it. I watch a high school do this a few years ago, working as their sound mixer, and the music for these is just so pretty. Harry does it justice for sure.
"Bayou Maharajah"shows off this most pulled together piano playing that we've heard yet in the show, with little-to-no improv. It's entirely impressive to listen to, and I bet watching his hands move on the keys this quickly and perfectly was even more so. Phew, very, very well done. Then, to cool down, I guess, Harry talks about his childhood full of jazz, crawfish, and James Booker. He remembers and enjoys it, and honors him with a song he wrote in memory: "Hear Me In The Harmony." Right away, it's got that souther blues/jazz feel only that region can seem to give. It's possibly the best song on the album. There's soul to the whole number and the lyrics are beautiful. Giving someone this song, and it does fit different situations, is just entirely sweet.
"Bourbon Street Parade"lets that jazz band ply on, and the audience is fully involved at this point. Now, the party has started, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Well, I mean, it will soon, because there's only one more track, but you get what I mean. They're all fully in-sync now, and partying on the road. I mean, in the theatre, but you can feel like you're on Bourbon. Yah know what? Just enjoy the fun times.
We're ending with "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." He's pretty sure they're out of time, and is amazed he's made it this far, and is ready to throw it all down for this last one. He's back on piano, and away we go, pretty damn quickly. It's one more fun Mardi Gras themed song for the road.
- "All The Way"
- "Hear Me In The Harmony"