Review Summary: With "Long Road" Tyrone Mr. SuperFantastic gives the listener something that is new and old and familiar in the same package.
There is something intriguing about the Tyrone Mr. SuperFantastic’s name that I have narrowed down to being reminiscent of the Simpson’s episode of Mr. Sparkle, the Japanese cleaning product that translates into super fantastic for everything. That mind connection made me approach this record with good humor and high expectations. Thankfully, multiple listens of his “Long Road” (Can Do Productions) album have confirmed my initial reaction. This is a breezy and relaxed good time romp through some highly complicated and mature classics. The confidence and unaffected delivery of these songs is a welcoming respite from the oh so serious jazz singers who are as old and dusty as a librarian saying shoos to anyone who is having a little fun.
First of all, is the deep resonance in his voice that places it in the position to cut through the orchestration. This comes to the foremost readily in his engaging reading of “Mr. Bojangles”. It is a song that gets used currently as a punch line instead of correctly being noted as a deeply human song about people. The way Tyrone delivers it brings it back to its innocence and simple reason for being. Simple and effective instrumentation gives the singer a nice solid foundation for his voice. Another highlight for me was his reading of the Lowe and Lerner classic, “On the Street Where You Live”. Most people today recognize the song from the movie “Blast from The Past” with Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone where he quotes the lyrics to her in such a sweet and poignant way. It is a song that is the perfect explanation for how a man feels when he lays his heart out for a woman and has to deal with the physical world environment at the same time as well. Tyrone manages to capture the real feeling and depth of what is on the surface, a simple love song. In the hands of the correct vocalist, it is anything but simple. Tyrone gives a relaxed scat intro that melds with the drums and piano. Add in the sweet Wes Montgomery type guitar and horn arrangement, and all it takes is a heartfelt reading of the lyrics to bring this song to life. There is also a jaunty bounce of rhythm that leads to a lovely piano solo that drives home how much this is a band of musicians playing together and having fun.
Now there is a serious infatuation from Tyrone about Frank Sinatra that needs to be addressed. I have always felt that there is no singer that is more honest in a recording than the singer doing a favorite cover. The way Tyrone covers “One For My Baby” shows that he was a serious Sinatra fan. There is another Sinatra classic covered here as well. I want to focus on this version of Frank’s signature song. There is a lot of acting required vocally to make this song work. Frank obviously did the definitive version, but Tyrone gives an interesting reading here. He does not approach the level of pathos Frank used. Tyrone takes a different approach and lets the lyrics do the talking. He uses his emotions sparingly which gives the listener something that is new and old and familiar in the same package. This genre is well traveled in the music biz, but it is always welcome when someone hits the reset button and gives the listeners something this enjoyable. Looking forward to hearing more of what this artist can do in the future.