Christmas is in the air everywhere, so why should Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s be any different? Antony Field is one of the most promising singer/songwriters to have shown themselves on the West Coast. Paired with his co-writer, Chip Smith, a jazz pianist, composer, and woodwind specialist (plays a mean sax), they used Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s to launch their latest, a truly splendid collection of original Christmas songs called You and Me on Christmas Eve.
Their collaboration has produced a growing catalogue of multi-genre songs, one of which was chosen as a finalist in the prestigious American Songwriting Competition. This Christmas album is full of beautiful songs that are tailored for a variety of tastes. The pair is remarkable in that they can comfortably compose jazz, country, traditional, theatrical, rock songs, and ballads.
Antony Field is a lounge singer in the best sense of the word. Sinatra was a lounge singer but Field has an even broader range. His voice is mellow, fluid, and smooth, delivered with a relaxed manner and a confident singing voice.
Not all the songs were original; “It’s a Wonderful Time of the Year” by Pola and Wyle started the set. Other songs composed by others (though given a fresh presentation) were the beautiful “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “You’d Better Love Me while you May,” which is a great song by Timothy Grey and Hugh Martin, “Sleigh Ride” (made famous by Andy Williams), Mel Torme’s famous “The Christmas Song,” and finally “ Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Their original songs included a ballad, “Oh Santa Claus,” a funny “Sliding Down the Chimney to You,” a jaunty “Let’s Get the Christmas Tree,” and a very good country song, “It’s Lonely at Christmas Without You.” They concluded the set with the title track of their album, a swinging “You and Me on Christmas Eve.”
Field and Smith have a nice rapport with each other and with other members of the combo: Doug Macaskill, a wonderful guitarist, Peter Marshall on bass, and Tony Humecke, the drummer, who was silent in comparison with the others’ festive mood. Judging from this concert, this Christmas album, if it gets the play and exposure it needs, could be a big hit.
You and Me on Christmas Eve was performed on Dec 16th at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s.