Cd_steve-tyrell_span3
08/16/13

Steve Tyrell
It's Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn
Concord Records

Sammy Cahn, to whom Steve Tyrell pays tribute with this baker’s dozen of predictably charming tracks, has long remained one of the most severely underrated tunesmiths. Despite more Academy Award nominations than any songwriter in Hollywood history (and four wins), Cahn’s name is rarely placed where it belongs—in the same exalted league as Berlin, Porter and Gershwin.

Perhaps Cahn’s reputation was colored by his hit-making association, along with writing partner Jimmy Van Heusen, with the ring-a-ding-ding heyday of the Rat Pack, here represented by loose-limbed renditions of “Come Fly With Me,” “The Tender Trap” and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” But Tyrell, whose earthy sophistication and salt-and-pepper delivery make him an ideal Cahn interpreter, digs deeper. “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week),” “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry,” “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and the Doris Day-introduced title track are splendid reminders of the tremendous breadth of Cahn’s other partnership, with Jule Styne.

Tyrell, like Cahn, is the consummate journeyman, naturally gifted at extolling the plainspoken truth, sunny or sad, about the human condition. That’s why Cahn would never be Porter and Tyrell will never be Sinatra, and fortunately so.

Originally published in July/August 2013
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