Appearing together for the first time in New York, composer-singer Amanda McBroom and composer-pianist John Bucchino provided a sympathetic, intimate show at Birdland last night (December 16). They teamed on examples of their work and proved to be a perfect, congenial match.
Birdland, the renowned music spot, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year with its customary line-up of major attractions.
McBroom and Bucchino have built solid reputations through the years and have been long-time friends, but had never performed together. “I figured it was about time,” Bucchino has said.
The program opened with “That Smile,” which Bucchino wrote, and which they sang as a duet. The style throughout the program was one of rare intimacy, with McBroom singing as if she were in your living room, and both interspersing personal explanatory comments. With a few songs Bucchino revealed that they came from key moments in his life.
McBroom exhibited a sense of fun, as with “Putting Things Away,” a song that she wrote about the annoyance of straightening up at home. Another of her amusing numbers was “Eggs,” for which she wrote the lyrics to music by Michele Brourman.
She sang several Bucchino compositions, such as “Sweet Dreams.” “Sepia Life,” “The Song With the Violins” and “Grateful.” Bucchino sang his own number “On My Bedside Table” and also “Learn How to Say Goodbye.” In addition he performed a terrific piano solo with the Rodgers and Hammerstein “My Favorite Things.”
On occasion, however, the pros didn’t sing and speak directly enough into the mikes, making some words and phrases a bit hard to catch, depending on where one was seated. But that’s a minor gripe. Overall the McBroom-Bucchino combo was a rare treat, with the performers engaging and skillful in communicating the very soul of their heartfelt creations that they obviously delight in sharing with each other and with an audience. At Birdland, 315 West 44th Street. Phone: 212-581-3080. Reviewed December 17, 2019.