Friends Jazz up our life. Last night, Saturday, October 17th, we went to see Steve with long time friends and Lounge Lizards in Exile Gary and Sue Rakestraw. Gary's a little like me ... grew up on rock 'n roll and top 40 music and somewhere along the way his tastes change - or broaden. As a generation, most of us still have our Rolling Stones and Beatles albums. But there's a time for everything, and music for every mood. There's something about Steve Tyrell, and an ice cold Ketel One martini at Catalina's Jazz Club in Hollywood. I still like rock 'n roll ... a lot of today's pop music too. But that martini in Hollywood ... nothing completes the picture like Steve Tyrell doing The Way You Look Tonight or I'm in the Mood for Love ... cocktail music!
Smile. Steve's Saturday night show at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood ended the way many Steve Tyrell shows in the past, started. When Steve returned to performing after the passing of Stephanie Manteris-Tyrell, his wife of almost 3 decades, he opened his shows quietly walking on to a dark stage to the opening notes of "Smile." Clearly, my friend Steve was singing ... and smiling ... through the pain of this profound loss; the loss of his wife, best friend, mother of his children, and an accomplished professional colleague. Saturday night, Steve Tyrell closed his show with that same song, cut 17 of his debut album, A New Standard. I smiled, with tears in my eyes. I've missed Steve's performance of those songs. Don't get me wrong. I've loved just about everything Steve has done since that first album. But those 17 songs, that album ... that's how I was introduced to Steve Tyrell, and re-introduced to this music - inspired, and convinced that there is an audience and a business here.
Renewing himself. Since the September 1999 release of A New Standard, Steve has released 6 albums (Click here to see all 7). I've really enjoyed the way he has integrated songs from the new albums into his shows. Most recently, Steve has introduced songs from an upcoming album, songs that introduce some of us to songs he didn't previously record, songs in which he played a role as writer, producer or some other part behind the scenes. One of those songs was one of two hit pop duets Steve produced for Linda Ronstadt.
Underneath the same big sky. The first date for Karen and Brad Chambers came in 1986. We had tickets for a screening of An American Tail, the animated movie that featured as its theme song, Somewhere Out There performed by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram. Our screening was a Saturday matinee. I sat on the aisle. Then my two kids and her two kids. Two 5 year olds, two 3 year olds. Then Karen. That Saturday afternoon, the movie's theme song became Our Song.
Serendipity. Fast forward to 2003. With help from friends like Burt Bacharach and his wife Stephanie, Steve Tyrell was working on his This Guy's in Love album. Steve invited me to stop by his Sunset Boulevard studio after work. As I walked in I saw a picture of Steve and Linda Ronstadt. He explained that they had worked together on Somewhere Out There. He told me the story behind the song, co-written by his then partner Barry Mann. I thought back on the 6-months that led up to this moment ... this whole relationship was meant to be! Karen had "Discovered" Steve Tyrell (with a little help from Martha Stewart) and was playing his A New Standard CD in her Boise, ID antique store. I had just launched Clear Channel's XM Satellite Radio channels and The Toad, a Classic Country radio station in Riverside, CA and my next assignment was to create a more contemporary version of the Adult Standards radio format, for use on Clear Channel's KLAC-AM in Los Angeles. I went home to Boise one weekend and heard the music Karen was playing in her store... this soulful guy injecting some R&B and a real contemporary feel into these timeless songs that are decades old. I got in touch with his record label, arranged a meeting and Steve became The Voice for the radio station. And this evening in early 2003, I'm in his studio and find out it's all come full circle - not only does he give us these great contemporary interpretations of timeless Standards - BUT HE PRODUCED OUR SONG!
Somewhere Out There was not part of last night's show. But that's ok. Steve Tyrell doing the songs from his album, A New Standard ... including 3 songs from the Father of the Bride movies, Irving Berlin's Cheek to Cheek, Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields' I'm in the Mood for Love, Duke Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore and closing with Smile made for a really special evening. We're still smiling.
Click here for Steve's itinerary on our website.