- Published on Thursday, 05 April 2012 21:33
- Written by Ron Forman
Photo by Katvan Studios
Amazing is the only word that can accurately describe pianist-vocalist Gregory Charles appearing this week at the Café Carlyle in the Carlyle Hotel at 35 East 76thStreet. Mr. Charles is a virtuoso musician whose show is both musically great and very funny. The show titled Vintage began with Mr. Charles doing a really swinging medley of songs taken from the great American Songbook including At long Last Love, On the Sunny Side of the Street and Pennies from Heaven, but as all of Mr.Charles shows are unrehearsed and different, tonight he may open with an entirely different set of songs.
The fun really begins after his opening numbers when Mr. Charles, who says, “That I like to live dangerously.” takes requests from the audience. I have seen other request programs where the requests seem to be songs that were rehearsed by the performer. This is not the case with this truly one of a kind show. When the audience enters the Café Carlyle each patron fills out a request card with the name of a song, the performer who sung it and the patrons name. Any song can be chosen from the 1920’s to the present. Mr. Charles calls out the name of the requestor and then plays and sings the requested song. The cards he picks are truly random and in the two shows that I have seen Mr. Charles do, he has never been stumped. When he appeared at the Café Carlyle last year the audience was predominantly middle aged and the requests were mostly songs from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The audience last night was largely composed of guests under forty, so their requests were mostly from the 80’s and 90’s. Among the numbers that he sang last night were songs associated with the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Dinah Washington and Elvis all done in the style of the performers by Mr. Charles and the three excellent musicians backing him, who always manage to keep up with him. He even managed to perform a lovely version of Harry Warren’s You’ll Never Know. The shows that he will do tonight, Friday and Saturday night will be totally different, but I believe equally memorable. Gregory Charles is a performer not to be missed.
The ambiance and service at the Café Carlyle is first rate and the salmon for dinner was as good as any that I have eaten. You have until Saturday see this truly one of a kind performer display his amazing talents.
The show is playing through April 7th at The Cafe' Carlyle.