A New Standard
Veteran producer and songwriter Steve Tyrell's collection of 17 standards-three of which were included on the soundtracks of the '90s Father of the Bride remakes-is clearly designed as a blue-chip item, featuring a string orchestra, guest appearances by Harry Edison, Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, Joe Sample and Plas Johnson, William Claxton photography and sticker endorsements by Woody Allen and Burt Bacharach. Tyrell's relaxed, raspy-voiced delivery of this classic material emulates similar American songbook forays by Dr. John, Ray Charles and the late, undervalued Charlie Rich. Like most Hollywood fare, A New Standard is lushly produced but hollow at the center. Although musically assured, Tyrell's singing is unconvincingly affected, with contrived pseudosoulful vocal cracks and a down-home accent that comes and goes. ("Can't" in "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" becomes "cain't" in "I Can't Get Started.") If Blade Runner's Tyrell Corporation were to fabricate a replicant pop-jazz vocalist, the denatured result would probably sound something like this.