VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
28 JUN 13 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Singer, songwriter and producer Steve Tyrell has been releasing albums at a steady clip in the last few years. His latest offering, It's Magic: The Songs Of Sammy Cahn, pays tribute to the remarkable work of an American icon. Often recorded by head Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, every one of the 13 songs will be instantly recognizable.
Cahn was a tireless composer whose output won him five Academy Awards out of a staggering 23 nominations, as well as Emmy and Grammy nods. The "Sammy Award," instituted in 1988 and awarded to movie scores and songs, was named in his honor.
Some of the movie theme songs Tyrell showcases include "It's Magic," originally sung by Doris Day in Romance On The High Seas, "The Second Time Around" from High Seas and Sinatra's "Tender Trap," from the film of the same name. It's one of the smartest lyrics in the American Songbook canon, with multiple verses that limn the evolution of a marriage in a way that's brutally honest yet incredibly witty.
"Ain't That A Kick In The Head" was a huge hit for Dean Martin, who recorded it for Ocean's 11. Cahn penned the lyrics with Jimmy Van Heusen writing the music and the song should have won awards for the title alone. Van Heusen and the legendary Jules Styne, whose work with Cahn is also featured, were Cahn's two main co-composers.
Tyrell also includes a lesser-known Cahn composition, "It's Crazy", which was written in 1991, late in Cahn's career, with Artie Butler, a friend of Tyrell's. "It was like finding a buried treasure," Tyrell recalls.
As usual, Tyrell has a stellar cast of musicians supporting him on this production. A full orchestra backs him, with soloists by top players guitarist Bob Mann, pianist Alan Broadbent and trumpeter Lew Soloff. Mann, Broadbent, John Oddo and Don Sebesky wrote the all-new, very swinging arrangements.