In keeping with the spirit of his new CD It's Magic, The Songs of Sammy Cahn, there could not have been a more magical evening this summer than Steve Tyrell's CD launch party hosted by the songman's cousin, Johnny Carrabba, and his sister, fashion blogger Roz Pactor.
Close to 100 fortunate friends and family were invited to Carrabba's vast French chateau-inspired home in the Memorial area for cocktails, Carrabba's (the restaurant) yummy party foods and drink and a jam session that was out of this world. There was plenty of reason to celebrate as the CD debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Jazz chart.
After signing CDs and posing for photos with just about every guest in the heavy-hitter gathering, Tyrell joined his musicians in the two-story high living room where he entertained with a handful of tunes including "It's Magic."
Surprises were in store when he introduced Houston native, famed jazz pianist Joe Sample, who tore up the keyboard of the electric piano and then played back-up for "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Kansas City." Channel 11's Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan, with a formidable voice of her own, joined Tyrell for "Kansas City," which she neatly transformed into "Texas City."
Another surprise in the mix, but not joining in the jam session, was Houston-based singer/club owner Scott Gertner.
Toe-tapping and swaying to the tunes were plenty of cousins — Camella and Pete Chiara, Nash D'Amico, Bessanne and Johnny Maida — plus Tyrell's nieces, Crystin Pactor and Nicole Pactor Graham, and Carrabba's parents, Rose and Johnny Carrabba.
They probably didn't need a tour of the grand residence but Carrabba invited all to check it out including the kitchen where his grandmother's stove, completely refurbished, is displayed museum-style in a lighted cove. Leisa Holland-Nelson and Robert Davenport and Ellie and Michael Francisco were among those blown away by the pool terrace which could have been straight from a Hollywood mogul movie.
The high-profile crowd included philanthropists Ginger and Jack Blanton, Alan Pactor, Channel 13 news anchor Dave Ward, the City of Houston's Susan Christian and Laura Spanjian, homebuilder Vincent Kickerillo and wife Mary, Kelli Kickerillo and Todd Forester, Laura Mercier Cosmetics founder Janet Gurwitch, More Than You Can Imagine owner Vicki Rizzo, Blue Cure founder Gabe Canales, Houston magazine publisher Peter Remington and Social Book forces Scott Evans and Jeff Henry.