Talented Canadian singer Gregory Charles sang “Sweet Child o’ Mine” at the hotsy-totsy Cafe Carlyle last night.
It was like hearing the Sex Pistols at a coronation.
Charles and his trio do a really fun show that starts with them banging out some jazzy standards (“Take the A Train,” “Minnie the Moocher”) followed by him reaching into a box filled with song titles the audience has written down and simply doing them, unprepared.
It’s a night where you’re the programmer, and it’s really uncanny because Charles doesn’t even tell his trio what song he’s picked.
He just selects a key, gives them a feel (“Let’s John Denver this next song”), and starts, and they follow by instinct.
Last night, the result led to a hot “Stand by Your Man,” a fiery “Stairway to Heaven,” a lovely “The Nearness of You,” and everything else from Lionel Richie to, yep, Guns N’ Roses and even Coldplay.
He was a little shaky on “Unforgettable,” but he still got through it, so he didn’t have to do a private concert for the person who requested it, which Charles says he does whenever he’s stumped.
You heard me. If you come up with a song he can’t do at all, you get four top musicians jamming in your apartment.
I sat there wishing he’d picked my request — “Reflections” by the Supremes.
If stymied, he would have had to come to my house and do my next request:
Polish the furniture.
PS: The band: Jean-Bertrand Carbou on bass, Samuel Joly on drums, and Jean-Benoit Lasante on guitar.