By Holli Harms

Hemingway wrote straightforward, simple sentences. Nothing lavish, just the truth of the story.

Steve Tyrell is the Hemingway of the music world. No opulent additions needed to the songs he sings, because the songs stand on their own. They are a part of the American Songbook that we have all come to know and love – and if you haven’t, you should.

Tyrell is the perfect interpreter of that Songbook. He worked with Sinatra, Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick to name a few. He knows these artists and their work and so he sings their songs with every ounce of his body exuding an outpouring of love and respect. He tells their story and does not get in the way with extravagant phrasing. Just his gravelly smooth jazzy vocals and superior band giving us a night of remembrance.

Tyrell is relaxed, cool, groovy showman. In the middle of one of his early numbers, Just The Way You Look Tonight, written by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern, we had some late comers and he crooned to them politely and with humor, “Some day, when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold, I will feel a glow just… ‘Hello to the Latecomers.’” Everyone laughed, including the latecomers.

On the Sunny Side of the Street, by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields, is a song Tyrell made famous once again, for the remake of Father of The Bride with Steve Martin. “Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worry at the doorstep. Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.” – that’s the Carlyle.

Fly Me to The Moon, by Bart Howard, is simply a great song and to hear it sung to you filling this most exquisite of rooms in our most exquisite of cities is a Happy Holiday any time of the year.

Tyrell sings I’ll Say a Little Prayer For You and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head both by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and Van Morrison’s Someone Like You with such love for the words its palpable. And oh those songs – a string of pearls to wrap around our hearts.

The crowd for Steve Tyrell is a fan club full of people engaged in conversations. No heads down staring at their phones. No phones on the table ready for the quick glance. No. Only talking and sharing and asking and telling. Mr. Tyrell did the same with his songs and the stories behind so many of them: Talking, telling, sharing. This show marks Tyrell’s 14th anniversary at the Carlyle and opening night were some important fans – most notably the incomparable Marilyn Maye.

In case you don’t know, the kitchen at the Carlyle is closed until early December, I’m told. They have instead a serving tray of chips, sweetened nuts and cheese crackers. Drinks of course are available including the Carlyle specialties. But who cares. One doesn’t go to the Carlyle for the food, but for the space, the history, the feeling the whole package delivers and Steve Tyrell is the whole package.

Steve Tyrell – Vocals, Quinn Johnson – Piano And Musical Director, David Finck – Bass, Bob Mann – Guitar And Arranger, Kevin Winard – Drums, David Mann – Saxophone And Flute, Jon Allen – Keyboards And Vocals

Performances will take place Tuesday – Thursday at 8:45pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:45pm and 10:45pm. Through December 29.  Weekday pricing begins at $135 per person / Bar Seating: $90 / Premium Seating: $185. Weekend pricing begins at $160 per person / Bar Seating: $100 / Premium Seating: $210 (No show on Christmas Day; NYE special pricing TBD, book directly through the hotel). Reservations can be made by phone at 212.744.1600 or online via Ticketweb. Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (35 East 76th Street, at Madison Avenue).