18 FEB 08 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Tony DeSare is part of the new generation of male saloon singers, joining contemporaries Michael Bublé, Peter Cincotti and Jamie McCullum to introduce the American Songbook to a new audience. His latest venture, Last First Kiss, is available on the Telarc label.
This new wave of Sinatra 2.0 began in the late-'80s with the emergence of Harry Connick, Jr., the good-looking kid with the impeccable New Orleanian heritage who has now, at 40, become an elder statesmen and role model for these younger guys.
But while Connick breathed new life into the standards, this new crop is expanding the parameters of just what constitutes a standard. By including jazzy takes of songs written by artists who have spoken to them in other forms like rock and folk, they've created an expanded criterion for the traditional repertoire.
Desare opens with a Prince song "Kiss," rearranged with a swinging piano trio under soft vocals. With a similar take on Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move" as well as several originals, he proves that these songs can meld seamlessly with Cole Porter and Irving Berlin classics.
Perhaps a better forebear than Sinatra for this group might be Nat King Cole, for most of them play piano, giving them greater autonomy in the choice and arrangement of their material. And just as Cole joined the worlds of pop and jazz into a personal sound in the '50s, artists like DeSare open up new-millennial possibilities for the preservation of a beloved, uniquely American idiom.