Thursday, April 21, 2011

cd review - Steve Ross Sings Cole Porter: "Close"

Thinking back about the Max Raabe concert the other night (scroll down or click here for my review of that concert) made me remember another singer and entertainer in the same vein as Raabe.  Steve Ross is a pianist and singer who plays hundreds of dates each year in New York, London and across the globe.  He often has week long engagements at the famous Oak Room at the Hotel Algonquin in New York City.  He is always impeccably dressed in a tux and tails and presents the image of a dapper gentlemen from the past, just like Max Raabe.

I first discovered Steve in 1996 when he was playing the butler in the Broadway revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter.  Before the show and also at intermission he would play a piano on the set of the show and sing Noel Coward songs, very similar to the recordings that Christine Ebersole made that were
played at the scene changes when she appeared in the revival of Coward's Blithe Spirit (see my review of her recording of Coward songs here). I thought his delivery of the material was perfect and was curious if Steve had any recordings available.   Fortunately I found one he did of Cole Porter songs entitled "Close.".  The cd includes 20 tracks of Porter tunes, including several medleys. 

The cd includes almost all of the famous Porter songs, a few of which Ross combines into nice medleys.  Every track is good but my favorites are Begin the Beguine, I Get a Kick Out of You, Down in the Depths, Night and Day, Every time We Say Goodbye, a rousing medley that includes Anything Goes and You're the Top as well as a soft, quiet medley that features What is this Thing Called Love? and It's All Right With Me.   He also delivers a defiant I Happen to Like New York and a perfectly delivered I've Got You Under My Skin. His attention to the meaning of each lyric and the fact that he is playing the piano impeccably while he sings is the perfect combination of dedication, detailed nuance, love and joy that he effortlessly displays in performing this type of material.

Steve has made several other recordings, of which his latest is a tribute to Alan Jay Lerner.   (Amazon links below for many of his CDs.)

We saw Ross in March 2010 at the McCarter where he sang and played the piano and delivered several songs from "Close" as well as selections from Coward and other composers.  It was a magical evening, much like the one we had this past Tuesday in Princeton with Raabe.

Ross actually played on Coward's own piano at the composer's last home in Jamaica!  And if you're a Coward lover, don't forget that Anything Goes is currently on Broadway.  It stars Sutton Foster and Joel Grey and has gotten great reviews.  I'm seeing it in a couple of weeks, so be on the lookout for my review coming soon

Definitely recommended
Check out Steve's Official Site for videos and tour dates

Track list for "Close" :
  • "Close" (3:34)
  • "Ev'rything I Love" / "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To / You're The Top / Anything Goes" (4:02)
  • "I've a Shooting Box in Scotland" (2:18)
  • "I'm Throwing a Ball Tonight" (2:09)
  • "Me and Marie" (2:15)
  • "Begin the Beguine" (3:57)
  • "When the Summer Mood Comes 'Long" (2:40)
  • "I Get a Kick Out of You" / "Anything Goes" (4:05)
  • "Down in the Depths" / "Just One of Those Things" (3:47)
  • "A Picture of Me Without You" (2:13)
  • "Night and Day" (3:19)
  • "What Is This Thing Called Love?" / "It's All Right With Me" (3:47)
  • "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" (3:25)
  • "They Couldn't Compare to You" (3:28)
  • "Can-Can" (3:16)
  • "You Don't Know Paree" / "I Love Paris" (3:12)
  • "I Concentrate on You" / "In the Still of the Night" (4:33)
  • "Take Me Back to Manhattan" (1:47)
  • "I Happen to Like New York" (2:27)
  • "I've Got You Under My Skin" (2:27)

Amazon link for Steve Ross Sings Cole Porter - Close

Amazon link for the cd of  I Remember Him Well: The Songs of Alan Jay Lerner

Amazon link for the mp3 download of I Remember Him Well - The Songs of Alan Jay Lerner

Amazon link for Live At The Algonquin

Amazon link for the 2 cd set Ross Redux

Amazon link for Most of Ev'ry Day

Steve sings 'You Were Never Lovelier" -

Steve sings and plays - "Why Did We Wait So Long?"

An interview with Steve -

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