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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

New York Cool - Interview

Francesca Simon Talks to
Marcus Goldhaber

Descending down a staircase surrounded by gold-lamed beauties a ‘la Busby Berkeley, Bijou Phillips bursts out in a sexy, suggestive number called “Let’s Be Nice Some More,” in the new film movie Dark Streets, which she wrote (see Francesca's review of Dark Streets).


Bijou Phillips in Dark Streets

“I really wanted to write a jazz standard that would be timeless,” says the actress. “One that would make the audience feel like ‘I’ve heard that before, what song is that?’ It’s hard to justify writing a jazz standard in everyday life so it was a great to have an excuse to do it.”

New York based Singer/Songwriter Marcus Goldhaber would not agree. Life, he says, is the only excuse he needs to write a timeless tune. Watching Dark Streets will definitely leave you yearning for more vintage music and Marcus can fill the void. (We’re on a first name basis now.) On his latest album, Take Me Anywhere, recently released in New York, Marcus steps out on the album’s tracks as a songwriter, incorporating seven original tracks co-written with his pianist/arranger Jon Davis, whose famous trio has graced many New York hot spots over the years. And the bonus is the ten new interpretations of traditional jazz standards they have crafted together. His music is a sort of fusion -- a vintage mixture with a straight ahead jazz styling.

Marcus, an old soul with a 30-year-old body, finds that everyday life offers plenty of opportunities to pen a musical poem in the song style of his iconic muses like Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, Irving Berlin and Dorothy Fields. Walking down Amsterdam Avenue one summer evening his steps sounded out the melody for his tune “A Walk” and the words waxed philosophical:

“Life can be golden, life can be grand,
You make the rules of the game,
When you are old and you don’t understand
Why nobody’s holdin’ your little hand,
Just take a deep breath and go for a walk.”

The album’s title tune Take Me slipped out onto the keys of his piano one sleepless night as memories of melodies and lyrics moving around in his mind finally took form as he fingered the black and white keys. The beginning lyrics sum up the surrender of love:

“Take me to a movie I don’t want to see,
Take me anywhere at all, but just don’t let me be… So baby take me.”

“I never know what or who will inspire a song,” he says,” and there are no limits at all.” The major theme for this album he says is “being ready to embrace the challenges and fears that surround love and ships. This title helps to express my willingness to confront my heart and trust myself enough to be carried away in different situations.”

This song stylist has no choice but to continue to create timeless tunes – it’s his Mamma’s fault. Every night after dinner his mother, Marilyn, would sit him down next to her at a 1928 Ivers & Pond upright piano as she tickled the keys and aught him magical music of bygone eras.

Those evenings created a crooner, who sings sincerely, sensitively and sweetly. Marcus’ breezy renderings of old favorites mixed with his new modern day musical musings make for laid-back, finger snapping, hum-along listening. His airy voice has an almost whispering quality even when he’s singing loud. His sensitive emotional tone translates into a vocal style that Jazz Improv Magazine called “reminiscent of a young Frank Sinatra.” And his vulnerability is evident in every phrase he sings.

One recent November evening I was invited for cognac and chocolate in Chelsea at Catch-22, a 1940’s-inspired cocktail lounge. The decor featured army helmets, manual cash registers, framed war stories, and other World War II memorabilia from era when much of the music that Marcus sings was popular. It was an intimate evening for his family, friends and fans with some press thrown in for good measure.

And although the night was cold and I was still recuperating from eating my way through NY Tastings and the International Chocolate Show I can never say “no” to more chocolate. Marcus Goldhaber loves chocolate and it has become his enticing trademark for his performances. He’s usually got a chocolate treat waiting at his performance venues to remind you of his future performances or endeavors. It certainly works for me.

Chocolate is sweet, smooth and sexy, just like the tunes on his new album. “[Chocolate] has always been an element of my experience,” Marcus says as he flashes his sincere grin. “It makes you roll back your eyes and look up to the sky,” he chuckles. “It has the same effect like when a great song strikes me.” Pour Moi Cognac, a unique French blend with a tinge of sweetness, designed specifically for ladies, was the night's drink. The taste of chocolate in my mouth blended with the sensual sound of Marcus’ voice and put me in the mood the way a good old movie on TCM or AMC does. An evening with Marcus will always take you on a trip down memory lane with a laundry list of melodies from old movies that flash images of ig screen icons through your mind.

1945: “I Fall In Love Too Easily” from Anchors Aweigh
(Gene Kelly)
1937: “With Plenty of Money and You” from Golddiggers of 1937
(Busby Berkeley).
1937: “Lulu’s back in Town” from Broadway Gondolier
(Dick Powell and Joan Blondell)
1943: “Lovely Way to Spend an Evening” from Higher & Higher
(Frank Sinatra)
1935: “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” from Top Hat
(Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers)

“He takes ownership,” says Larry Dusseau, 66, as Marcus belts out 1928’s hit “Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter”. To say he and his wife Rita are fans would be a lie – they’re downright devotees. “We were wandering through a street fair a few summers ago. It was 90 degrees,” he recalls. “We heard this voice drifting out of a bar so we decided to go in get a cold beer. We wondered ‘Is it Frank Sinatra or Mel Torme? Then we found out -- it’s Marcus. We’ve been following him ever since." And they love his new material, too. “Unless you have a good memory you can’t which is old and which is new,” she says.

I watched a women watch Marcus adoringly as she silently sang along mouthing the words as he sang “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie”. It was his mother, Marilyn, sitting next to his father, Gerry. They were both about to burst open with pride. Singing standards at the piano, Marcus says, is a family tradition. “My grandfather did the same thing to her that she did to me,” he jokes. Marcus never had a chance – lucky for us!

See Marcus sing at www.YouTube.com/MarcusGoldhaber
Find out more at www.MarcusGoldhaber.com

Haven’t decided on where to ring in the New Year? Marcus can sing you in with the Jon Davis Trio at Fabio Piccolo Fiore, 230 East 44th Street. There’s no cover but with the prix fixe dinner for $85 champagne is included. Call for reservations:
212-922-0581


 

 

 

 


 



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