Love Stories- Tammy McCann and Fareed Haque

Tammy McCann has a natural jazz/blues voice. Imbuing American Songbook with those colorings creates unique, savory phrasing. The vocalist is a thoughtful, low key interpreter who eschews volume for its own show-off sake. Camera gaze is warm and direct creating unexpected intimacy in a streaming context. Performance feels honest, unaffected. Hands only rise from her lap as if compelled. Tonight’s collaborator, guitarist Fareed Haque, brings a classical background to jazz and samba. Music is enunciated with skill and devotion. Camaraderie is palpable.

“Old Devil Moon” (Burton Lane/Yip Harburg) sashays in on a happy, rhythmic strum. McCann gently rocks forward and back. There’s a momentary hint of howl. Acoustic accompaniment is playful. The song surges with finesse.

An up-tempo “Tea for Two” (Vincent Youmans/Irving Caesar) sustains the mood with a wink and a shimmy. McCann’s delivery of short phrases never seems clip. Haque  skates around the original tune, then goes offroad in a solitary example of  hearing something we don’t.

Carl Sigman/Bob Russell’s “Crazy, He Calls Me,” gently muses. Vocal is silken. We believe every sighed word. Vibrato ripples. Strings are cajoled. The song exits powdery. “Unless It’s You” (Johnny Mandel/Morgan Ames), which takes us outside Chicago’s Sound Mine Studios, is bruised nostalgia. I wonder why/I’ve loved so few/I guess I’m shy/I’m just like you…McCann holds onto notes as if unwilling to let go of a feeling. Some are so long, they seem to wrap around the singer. A little sob emerges like punctuation.

Vernacular peppers a swinging samba version of “Boy From Ipanema” (differentiated from the original ‘Girl’) as if on a busman’s holiday. There’s “uh huh ahhh,” “yeah, yeah, yeah, “the boy’s lookin’ so good to me.” Chicago meets the tropics. Flirty, somewhat jaded attitude surprisingly works. “Just my luck,” she sighs. (Antônio Carlos Jobim/ Portuguese lyrics -Vinícius de Moraes/English lyrics- Norman Gimbel) Also a samba, Buddy Johnson’s  “Save Your Love for Me” is artfully expressive. Phrasing breezes in wide to narrow, like painted strokes. The vocal has a blues feel.

“Daydream” (Billy Strayhorn/John Latouche) is a longlined, floaty vocal, its timbre as tenderly sure as it might be in more secure vocal territory. There’s not a frayed note, not a quiver. Haque’s’s head moves forward, sideways, with a little shake as if in dialogue with his instrument. A delicate clap and a little light scat take us tiptoeing out. “I’ve Got the World on a String” (Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler), finds McCann dancing in her chair-shoulders forward, eyes crinkling; effervescent. Guitar twirls, slides, bends, and taps.  “If I should ever let him go” elicits “I’m not gonna do that.” She laughs.

We close with a delicate, earthy “Stardust” (Hoagy Carmichael.) A lovely show.

For more information:
Tammy McCann
Fareed Haque

Photo Courtesy of Tammy McCann

About Alix Cohen (1007 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of nine New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.