Singer Jeff Harnar and Music Director Alex Rybeck celebrated their 35 year collaboration with a retrospective show at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, September 21st, 7pm.
June 13, 1983 turns out to have been an important date in Cabaret. And, 35 years, 3 months, and 1 week after their first collaboration, Jeff Harnar and Alex Rybeck reminded us of why. In their impressive anniversary show, Harnar and Rybeck presented a united front. This was not a singer show, not just a singer show, but a full-on collaborative experience, with Rybeck’s arrangements, accompaniment, and sometimes voice, taking center stage with Harnar.
Mr. Harnar’s singing was, of course, beautiful. And his attention to lyric communication is, as always, immediate and impressive. And Mr. Rybeck’s arrangements and collaborative artistry were, and are, masterful, and delicate.
Of particular note, in both arrangement and performance, was Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies. This was one of Harnar and Rybeck’s first collaborations. And, with a 35 yr collaboration, one might expect that earlier works might not have the same weight or gravitas, or at the very least exude a more youthful naivete, in comparison to later pairing’s. But not so here. In this beautifully haunting rendition, it seems evident that the artistry of this team was birthed at first meeting.
The two continued to delight their audience with Strange Duet Medley, which included songs Strange Duet, Close Harmony, and The Wrong Note Rag (all Comden & Green, and featuring some four-handed piano), and a Politics Medley, from their show The 1959 Broadway Songbook, which resonated as much today as it did in 1959.
Other memorable songs, in an evening of remarkable songs, included There is a Time (Le Temps – C. Aznavour), Time After Time (J. Styne, S. Cahn), and a Rybeck original, What A Funny Boy He Is.
The evening was a reminder of just how collaborative a cabaret performance is meant to be, and can be, in the hands of two like-minded artists.
Harnar & Rybeck appear again at the 29th Annual New York Cabaret Convention, @ The Rose Theater, Lincoln Center, October 9-12.
Steve Doyle – Bass
Dan Gross – Drums