Tony DeSare’s songs rank up there with the all-time favorite jazz standards. His lush arrangements and captivating phrases stir the emotions.
Tony DeSare invites you into the intimate lounge act that unfolds with Last First Kiss, his most recent offering from Telarc. DeSare provides a comfortable mix of four original compositions along with standards such as Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" and modern chart-toppers such as Prince's "Kiss".
Last First Kiss is a travelogue of love, romance and seduction. "Come On Strong", originally penned by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, extends the invitation, "If you're gonna kiss me, / Don't just merely kiss me, / Kiss me lovely and long”. There is DeSare's reading of Prince's purely sexual "Kiss", and the self-congratulatory "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You". We ride the emotions of "I'll Never Have Enough Of You" and the sad parting of ways as portrayed by "There Will Never Be Another You".
Co-producers DeSare and Billy Terrell create a thoughtful, reflective ambience. Accompanying himself on piano, DeSare's chops and vocals are effortless. The singer's timbre has enough of a rasp to carry authentic emotion with his words, yet his vocals are smooth enough to roll easily with the melodies.
The majority of the album's tracks feature the always-magnificent Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar as well as the up-tempo basslines of Mike Lee. Drinking in their notes is comparable to enjoying a full-bodied Chardonnay. There are other great contributions, such as Tedd Firth's keys on Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is The Ocean?" Harry Allen presents us with a spectacular tenor saxophone solo on "They Can't Take That Away From Me".
The songs that DeSare has selected are some of the best jazz and pop standards ever written, and yet his own compositions can hold their heads high in that crowd. Three of the most beautiful tracks are his -- "Let's Just Stay In", "I'll Never Have Enough Of You" and "Lover's Lullaby". He also authored "Last First Kiss".
DeSare's interpretation of Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move", however, does not work for me. I see the song as one full of life, exuding the energy and euphoria of love. DeSare has created a laid-back arrangement that doesn't fit.
If you are a romantic, you are going to love this record. The lush charts become the velvety pillows that we lay our heads on as we dream of the one who stirs our emotions, or the one who is to come and will take our breath away. The lyrical palette provides a broad sweeping mural of emotions ranging from flirtatious to despairing.