Apr 16: Steve Berndt & Brian Browne live @ The Mansion

Vocalist Steve Berndt and pianist Brian Browne will be performing live at The Mansion next Thursday, April 16 at 7:30pm.

The concert will be in support of the duo’s second album, “All Over Again” that can be heard on regular rotation on CBC’s Tonic.

You can read more about their new album on Steve’s site. Ottawa’s Peter Hum had this to say about the album:

On a few occasions have I seen Ottawa singer Steve Berndt wearing something other than his musical uniform.

On gigs, he favours a retro suit and dark fedora a la Frank Sinatra, resembling a Rat Pack member from back in the day. That get-up gives a sense of what to expect from Berndt on his gigs and his two CDs, Deja Vu and its follow-up All Over Again, which he and pianist Brian Browne will launch this Friday at the NAC Fourth Stage. Berndt looks the part of a 1960s crooner, and he sings that way too. He’s developed a supple, expressive way of delivering songs (ballads in particular) that frequently moves from vulnerable, understated beginnings to punchy, dramatic finishes.

His new disc repeats the same format of his debut, presenting 14 tracks including a dozen American Songbook standards and two very compatible originals. Here’s a live version of the Berndt/Browne duo performing “Mona Lisa”, complete with the verse, demonstrating the duo’s class at its best:

Other ballads appearing on the CD, along with the Nat King Cole classic, include “Born To Be Blue”, “For All We Know”, “The More I See You”, “Easy Living” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”. The renditions are consistent with the time-honoured way of interpreting these tunes — what matters most is the spontaneity and poise of the delivery.

More exuberant are “September In The Rain”, “Candy” and “Our Love Is Here To Stay”. Berndt’s originals the melancholy title track and the bouncier “The Moment” deal with love from two vantage points. To his credit, Berndt writes natural but untrite lyrics and crafts songs with some interesting cadences to them.

Above all, he renders his own words, as well as those of the greats, with conviction that outweighs the rare under-enunciated vowel or slightly more mannered singing, while Browne, the dean of Ottawa’s jazz pianists, is his usual sturdy, bluesy, in-the-moment self.