Steve Ross Orchestra – Rhythm and Romance
by Joe Regan Jr.
There was a very special event at Birdland on Monday, November 16 when Steve Ross appeared with an eleven piece orchestra and sang some very special songs accented by the horns, winds, percussion, a violin, and a very special bass player, Brian Cassier, who was the leader of the orchestra. The house was sold out and full of friends, singers, composers knee deep even at the bar.
Ross is singing better than ever, and his 100 year old vocal teacher was in the audience. He talked about a relative who was the one who used to bring him to New York City and take him to Broadway shows and Radio City Music Hall. He moved to New York City from Washington, DC in 1968 and has been performing in New York, London, Paris, and South America ever since!
Of course, he saluted his home town with lots of New York songs: “42nd Street,” “Take Me Back to Manhattan,” “I Happen To Like New York,” “I Have To Get Back To New York.” One wonderful song sung after he talked about Cole Porter and Noel Coward’s love of list songs, was “These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You” with all three choruses, something very few.
He paused to talk about Paris and the devastation that has befallen that country. Then he sang a heart-breaking “Last Time I Saw Paris” which brought tears to everyone’s eyes. On some of the ballad selections, he accompanied himself on the piano for the first chorus before the bass and the orchestra joined him. The orchestra was great and definitely enhanced his vocal strength. One of his last songs was “Let’s Do It,” with special lyrics that he wrote himself! It was a hoot and a half considering Noel Coward also wrote special lyrics to that naughty ditty!
Steve Ross’ next appearance is Saturday the 21st, in STEVE ROSS ON BROADWAY (directed by Walter Willison), with special guest star Carol Demas, for The Ziegfeld Society at Lang Concert Hall at Hunter College on 69th at Park. He’s also appearing 2 PM Sunday, November 22nd at Feinstein’s/54 Below at the Vocal Ease Benefit performance with Karen Mason (www.Feinstein’s/54Below.com or call 646-476-3551).
A recording Ross made of Sondheim songs “Good Thing Going” with Duncan Knowles is finally being released on Harbinger Records: http://harbingerrecords.com/good-thing-going-the-songs-of-stephen-sondheim/