There is a marvelous meticulousness about Darius de Haas, a serene impeccability. It was evident eight years ago when he delivered his debut solo album, the Strayhorn tribute Day Dream, and remains fully manifest throughout this wider-ranging assortment of standards and show tunes. The theatrically trained tenor, who also happens to be Andy Bey’s nephew, handles both ballads and uptempo numbers with Astaire-like precision and elegance.
Across these 17 tracks, De Haas has found an ideal playmate in pianist Steven Blier, whose ability to amplify without overpowering is essential to such a restrained singer. Ofttimes, as on his sweetly delicate “If It’s Magic,” misty “Some Other Time” and lucent “Glad to Be Unhappy,” De Haas alights on the notes with the tremulousness of a butterfly settling upon a delicate bud. But he can be just as strikingly invigorated, expertly navigating the jovial waves of “They All Laughed” and “Paper Moon,” cutting loose on “Mr. Paganini” and uncorking the wishful optimism of “There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon for New York.”
But De Haas, best known as a musical theater headliner, is perhaps most imposing when exercising his immense storytelling skills across “Good Morning Heartache,” “Love for Sale” and two selections from Adam Guettel’s ambitious song cycle Myths and Hymns, the deeply passionate “Hero and Leander” and the soaring “Migratory V.”