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Steve March Tormé: The Essence of Love

Liza Minnelli looks, acts and sounds like her mother. There’s an obvious likeness between the senior and junior Frank Sinatras. Even Nat and Natalie Cole bear a certain resemblance. In the case of Steve March Torme, though, the apple seems to have fallen quite far from the tree. He shares few physical characteristics with his legendary dad (though there’s a hint of familiarity around the eyes), and even fewer vocal similarities. Still, the younger Torme (whose stepfather was actor Hal March, hence the triple-barrel handle) has a decent range and good control, solid taste in standards and, much like Mel, an enviable emotional sincerity. His sophomore album, The Essence of Love (Frozen Rope), tends to be hit and miss. On the plus side, his “This Can’t Be Love” is appropriately bouncy, his galloping “Just One of Those Things” is splendidly paced, and his shiny “Let’s Fall in Love” is terrific. He also does an admirable job of navigating the uneven waves of Lennon and McCartney’s “I Will.” Conversely, his “Stardust” is a bit too bright and his breezy swing through “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” skips right over the heartache that defines the lyric’s longing. Saddest of all, what’s meant to be the album’s centerpiece, a pull-all-the-stops duet with Diane Schuur on “The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else,” is, through no fault of Torme’s, thrown wildly off-balance by Schuur’s unbridled screechiness. Yet again she proves that bigger and brassier is rarely better, ruining what could and should have been a showstopper.

Originally Published