Come Fly With Me
The Tender Trap
All the Way
Teach Me Tonight
The Second Time Around
Call Me Irresponsible
Ain’t That a Kick in the Head
I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
It’s Been a Long, Long Time
Saturday Night (Is The Loneliest Night Of The Week)
I Fall in Love Too Easily
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Label: Concord Records
On Steve Tyrell’s 10th album, It’s Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn, the GRAMMY award-winning singer/songwriter/producer celebrates the iconic American songwriter’s centennial birthday. Complemented with longtime collaborators, Tyrell explores 13 of his favorite Cahn songs, illustrating their everlasting vitality. The musicians include guitarist Bob Mann, pianists Alan Broadbent and Quinn Johnson, bassists David Finck and Ed Howard, drummers Kevin Winard and Jim Sapporito, and feature soloist David Mann on saxophone, and Lew Soloff on trumpet. The arrangements are provided by a legendary group that include Alan Broadbendt, Don Sebesky, John Oddo, and Bob Mann, and is produced by Steve Tyrell and Jon Allen.
The idea to record a Cahn songbook project first came to Tyrell last year, after he performed “It’s Crazy,” at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. (right outside of Washington, D.C.). It was one of the last tunes Cahn penned in collaboration with Tyrell’s friend Artie Butler, “It was a song that slipped through the cracks, Artie told me, so I thought it would be great to try a Sammy Cahn song that no one knew. We played it that night and everybody went crazy,” Tyrell remembers, “It was like finding a buried treasure.” Underscored with an after-hours blues feel, and graced with a sultry trumpet solo from Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears), the song will undoubtedly be inducted into the big leagues of other Cahn classics.
Throughout It’s Magic, Tyrell’s whiskey-sour baritone swaggers and brings a modern sound to the quintessential 1960s Rat Pack style. Of all of the Great American Songbook composers, Tyrell points out that it was Cahn, who was the primary voice of that ’60s generation, as he wrote so many classics during that era. “There was a period in American pop culture where the old-world thinking ran into the sexual revolution. That’s around 1958. Before that, everybody was ‘goody two-shoes,’ sleeping in twin beds on TV. Then all of sudden, there was the Rat Pack, Las Vegas, James Bond, and Playboy magazine. Things started getting sexy,” Tyrell explains. This is the period most revered by this current generation as witnessed by the success of Mad Men, the remakes of Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, and this year’s salute to James Bond at the 2013 Oscars. And then there’s Diddy with his Rat Pack Vodka commercials.
“Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” (co-written by Jimmy Van Heusen for Ocean’s 11) is the perfect example of Cahn’s gift of penning verses for that particular time. ‘She’s telling me that we will be wed/she’s picked out a king-sized bed.’ “You ain’t going to find that in a Cole Porter or Irving Berlin song,” Tyrell smilingly states.
Sammy Cahn was nominated 27 times for the Academy Award, winning 4, along with 5 Golden Globes and an Emmy.
In addition to celebrating Cahn’s centennial, Tyrell salutes Van Heusen – one of Cahn’s most frequent collaborators – who was also born 100 years ago. Along with “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” It’s Magic includes other Cahn-Van Heusen classics such as the swooning opener “Come Fly with Me,” a classic made famous by Frank Sinatra (who recorded 87 of Cahn’s songs), a dramatic reading of the amorous cautionary tale “The Tender Trap,” which was the soundtrack title song of the 1955 movie starring Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds; a stirring retooling of “All the Way,” another Sinatra-related classic, written for the 1957 drama, The Joker is Wild; the gorgeous, string-laden ballad “The Second Time Around; and the comely “Call Me Irresponsible,” an ambitious five-syllable word ballad that Cahn originally wrote for 1963 movie, Papa’s Delicate Condition, with hopes that the movie’s original star, Fred Astaire would sing it. Instead it sat on the shelf for seven years until the movie was finally made, starring Jackie Gleason, winning Sammy his final Oscar. Tyrell adds, “Sammy was an incredible guy with a great sense of humor. His widow Tita told me “Irresponsible” was the song he was most proud of. He often said it was a 5 syllable song written by a guy from 1 syllable neighborhood!”
It’s Magic also toasts Cahn’s other main songwriting partner, Julie Styne, with the inclusion of the gentle makeover of the title-track, a song made famous by Doris Day; the torch-song classic “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out the Dry,” written for the obscure 1944 stage production, Glad to See You; a titillating version of “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” an anthem that celebrated the return of American soldiers from World War II; the snazzy “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week), a tongue-in-cheek gem written from a hard-working musician’s perspective who’s reveling in spending Saturday night with a paramour; and the disc’s misty closer, “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” written for the 1945 comedy flick, Anchors Aweigh.
Gene De Paul, another Cahn collaborator, is represented on the disc with the sumptuous reading of “Teach Me Tonight,” another chestnut associated with Sinatra.
Even though Tyrell’s a five-decade veteran songwriter and producer, who has worked with an illustrious and diverse array of artists (Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, James Ingram, Diana Ross Ray Charles, and more), he’s dedicated his solo recording career solely to the Great American Songbook, starting off with his 1999 recording debut, A New Standard (Atlantic Records) and was the first in a new wave of contemporary artists recording the standards. Of Tyrell’s previous 9 albums, 7 have made the top 5, and 1 the top 10 in Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart.
Tyrell says of the Great American Songbook, “What makes these songs so great, and the reason they have lasted 70 and 80 years is that they allow each artist to create their own distinct versions. You can love many different artists singing the same song.”
While putting his own personal stamp on these classics, Tyrell explains that he’s ever respectful of the composer’s original intent. “You can take on the challenge to change them, but the melodies of these songs are classic,” he says, “My philosophy is to sing the melody at least the first time, and then maybe take it someplace creative.”
Tyrell certainly does Cahn’s compositions justice with It’s Magic. “I think Sammy Cahn’s legacy should be celebrated in its 100th year. These songs are a part of American history,” Tyrell enthuses, “As long as people have the opportunity to hear them, they will live forever.”