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April 2007

Tony Desare
Last First Kiss
Telarc

As this sophomore outing ably demonstrates, New Yorker Tony DeSare has earned his place within the post-millennial crooner renaissance, settling into a comfortable berth between the pop hipsterism of Michael Buble and the more refined cool of Peter Cincotti. Of the standards that fill roughly two-thirds of the album, most, including “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” and “Oh, Look at Me Now,” echo the laid-back ease and authority of John Pizzarelli (and owe a sizeable debt to Pizzarelli’s phrasing).

Elsewhere, DeSare’s jaunty “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” is distinctly Sinatra-esque and his stripped-bare “How Deep Is the Ocean” is stunning in its heartfelt honesty. He also takes an interesting approach to Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move,” reinterpreting it as a dreamy ballad with the gentlest hint of a bossa nova undercurrent. And DeSare’s songwriting seems to be maturing at the same rapid pace as his singing. Of the four originals included here, two in particular—“Let’s Just Stay In,” reminiscent of the daiquiri-and-décolletage seductiveness of Jackie Gleason’s sticky orchestral efforts, and the kiss-and-tell “Come On Strong” with its ring-a-ding-ding, Cahn-and-Van Heusen vibe—move past mere retro derivativeness to prove impressively polished.

Originally published in April 2007
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