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Tony Martin at Feinstein's

The 95-year-old crooner's show is best experienced as a night about nostalgia.

By New York City
Tony Martin
Tony Martin
Tony Martin is 95 years old and looks every bit of it. Until he sings. In his show at Feinstein's at the Loew's Regency, this film, TV, and recording star of years gone by provides a crystalline example of professionalism that is rare among performers not just half his age, but one quarter of it! The man is so connected to his art that despite the fog of age, if you give him a little bit of the melody of one of his hit songs -- which his musical director Dick Parent often has to -- he can launch right into it and sing it in tune, from start to finish, and without dropping a lyric. Moreover, while his voice isn't the same rich and robust sound from his younger days, he still sounds pretty damned good.

Martin was never an A-list star, but rare is the man who has had his good fortune. Some of his most memorable hit recordings were the result of bigger stars turning down material. That's how he came to record "There's No Tomorrow" (based on "Ole Sole A Mio") when Perry Como declined to record it, and "Begin the Beguine" when Bing Crosby declined to take it, saying, "Let the kid do it." His good fortune didn't end there. In 1948, the singer married the beautiful Cyd Charisse, to whom he is still married -- and who attends every one of his shows at Feinstein's.

Other than seeing Charisse, there are plenty of good reasons to go to Feinstein's to see Martin perform. You will hear great songs like "You Stepped Out of a Dream," "The Very Thought of You," and "I Don't Know Why" -- and there is something deeply touching about a nonagenarian singing "How Do You Keep the Music Playing." And make no mistake, there is something special about being in a room with a man who rubbed elbows with people like Fred Astaire, and even shipped out to war in the early 1940s with a young Henry Mancini. But if you're looking for great singing, be aware; his is not like Barbara Cook's voice, which is little diminished by time. Simply put, Tony Martin's show is best experienced as a night about nostalgia.


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