“Rising Star” in the 2009 Downbeat Critics Poll, DeSare has won widespread popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
DeSare’s retro-contemporary sound has drawn frequent comparisons to the legendary pop-jazz stylist Frank Sinatra. In fact, renowned songwriter and Motown producer Lamont Dozier (The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Isley Brothers), recently placed DeSare in the same pantheon of retro–cool Sinatra successors that includes Harry Connick Jr. and Yamaha Artist Michael Buble. At a recent meeting with DeSare, Dozier predicted, “You’re next!”
Born to a musical family in Glens Falls, NY, DeSare began singing and performing professionally at the age of 17, opening for visiting headliners and building a large regional following. Equally at home in contemporary and standard genres, he went on to study at Ithaca College where he formed the Tony DeSare Trio, securing a first place win in the “IC Showcase,” a college-sponsored national battle of the bands.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved pianos, and some of the very first pianos I encountered were Yamahas,” recalls DeSare. Now, his instrument of choice is a Yamaha Disklavier DCFX performance-reproducing piano. “Yamaha offers the ideal blend of the acoustic piano craftsmanship and technology,” says DeSare. “It’s artistically inspirational, since these are two forces in music that don’t often coalesce. Yamaha has found a way to make them play nicely together.” Beyond the instrument’s “responsive action,” DeSare has also been impressed by the resonant CFX tone, “which helps cut through an orchestra.”
Playing over an orchestra has become a higher priority of late, as the artist has added numerous, high-profile symphony appearances to his schedule, in addition to gigs at jazz festivals and posh, legendary nightclubs. But it’s DeSare’s affection for old-school, classic standards and the golden era of the brat pack, that also led him to an ongoing touring relationship on the casino circuit with the legendary comic Don Rickles.
“I’m a fan of that era and Don is unquestionably one of the best,” notes DeSare, marveling at the 85-year-old’s stamina and undiminished ability to keep a large audience in stitches for a full, 80-minute set. “He’s still the greatest.”
For Rickles, the admiration is mutual. “Tony DeSare is, without question, one of the today's most outstanding artists and performers,” says Rickles. “His superb piano artistry is a bonus!”
DeSare will release his fourth CD later this year, a musical mélange of sophisticated, inventive originals and contemporary classic cover songs. Beyond traditional piano playing, and employing the Disklavier’s record and playback function to record the CD, DeSare is experimenting with non-traditional modes of drawing sound from the instrument via the strumming of strings, the manipulation of hammers and tapping the body of the piano.
“Tony has a refreshing and unique way of blending modern sounds with swinging classics,” says Bonnie Barrett, Yamaha Artist Services Director. “He has an exceptional ability to write fresh, original work that also blends seamlessly with the Great American Songbook. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with him.”
DeSare caught his first break in New York City when he was cast as the star of the long running Off‐Broadway musical smash, Our Sinatra, in 1999. Three years later, he performed at the legendary Apollo Theater where he first met jazz guitar icon, Bucky Pizzarelli, who has since continued to perform with his band, touring the nation and headlining at major performance venues ranging from leading jazz rooms like Birdland and the Blue Note to posh nightclubs like the Café Carlyle and Feinstein’s at the Regency, as well as several appearances at Carnegie Hall and major concert halls like Jazz at New York’s Lincoln Center. On tap for the fall is an engagement at the new nightclub located at the site of New York’s’ legendary Studio 54 dance club, 54 Below.
DeSare’s versatility and creativity in songwriting have also earned him distinguished recognition for his original compositions. “Let’s Just Stay In,” was featured in the 20th Century Fox film The Tooth Fairy, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ashley Judd, Billy Crystal and Julie Andrews. Tony also composed and performed the title theme to My Date With Drew, an independent documentary feature film starring Drew Barrymore. The song has been featured on “The Tonight Show” and “The Today Show,” among many other media outlets.