Highlights include “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” a sassy “Glow Worm” and a charming rendition of “Basin Street Blues,” in which voices doubled as musical instruments — a gimmick on which the Mills Bros. group was founded in the 1920s.
Also offered was a pleasant (and congruent) new number penned by John, “Still … There’s You,” the title song from a new Mills CD.
Co-billed Kay Starr, whose 1952 chestnut “Wheel of Fortune” is featured on the soundtrack of the upcoming pic “L.A. Confidential,” held forth for the first half of the program.
Peppy and engaging, Starr wrapped her smoky voice with its sax-like tone around an assortment of tunes ranging from her hits (“You’ve Got to See Mama Ev’ry Night,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Waltz,” “Wheel”) to a smidgen of country (“Crazy”) to ’50s rock (“Great Balls of Fire,” “I’m Walkin’ ” and “Rock Around the Clock”).
In a meant-to-be-humorous moment with which she seemed more than a tad uncomfortable, she even tried her hand at rap.
While Starr’s pipes are surely more mature than in her heyday, she remains a distinguished and affecting stylist with an impressive instrument. And she handled her onstage banter chores with aplomb.
An encore uniting the Millses with Starr on “Up the Lazy River” proved a festive capper for the evening.
The Buddy Freed Trio nicely accomped both acts.