Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano have the advantage of being able to respectively impress in solo arrangements, but when they sing together the pleasure is doubled. Once again they are bringing their personable and highly professional magic to the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel (Jan. 4-15). They are as polished a duo as one could wish for, consummate entertainers who put on a show as fueled with enthusiasm as with talent.
Everyone has to build around a theme these days, and theirs is "Helluva Town : A New York Soundtrack." Trying to fit the selections into a package is a formality. Under any grouping, the numbers they sing display an eclectic range that shows off their skill. I checked back into two other programs of theirs that I reviewed, and one doesn't find repetitiveness. They have an amazing repertoire to draw upon for a particular occasion, as evidenced again this time around.
Did I mention that they are married? No big news by now. But the congenial togetherness they exude works wonders, as with their closing with “Two Sleepy People,” Barbara with her head on Eric’s shoulder. The pattern of their show is shifting back and forth between Comstock soloing while exercising his considerable piano skills, Fasano showing off her voice and interpretative ability, and their joining together in close harmony. The result is smoothness, enhanced by bits of witty comment. Sean Smith is a valuable asset on bass.
Comstock excels with such numbers as “I’ll Tell the Man in the Street” (Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart), “My Time of Day” (Frank Loesser), “Strollin’” (Horace Silver and Jon Hendricks.) and a beautiful rendition of “Some Other Time” (Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green).
Fasano, chic in a form-fitting black dress, shines with “My Shining Hour” (Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer), “I Walk and Little Faster” (Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh) and the turns she takes in such numbers as “You’re the One” (Billy Strayhorn), in which she starts and Comstock counters.
They choose songs that provide extra fun, as with their example of a past trend toward south-of-the-border tunes—“She’s a Latin from Manhattan ” (Harry Warren and Al Dubin.” Or the sardonically amusing “The Hamptons” (Jim Lowe).
The mood is entirely different with their mellow, nostalgic duet interpreting “Old Friends” (Paul Simon).
Variety, we have heard, is the spice of life. There is plenty of both variety and life in this latest opportunity to enjoy Comstock and Fasano individually and together as they pay tribute to New York . At the Oak Room, The Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street . Phone: 212-840-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.