By Sandi Durell
What could be more glorious than sitting in a seat overlooking Columbus Circle, Central Park, the skyline of New York and hearing the dulcet heart-throbbing tones of the one and only Michael Feinstein in this closing of his popular Jazz & Popular Song Series. And he is backed by the hot sounds of Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, a New York staple in the music community of jazz, ragtime, big band era originals.
Michael Feinstein is not only a multi-platinum selling artist, but Emmy and Grammy Award nominee otherwise known as the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” He’s a dreamy crooner and piano virtuoso who has unlimited historical knowledge about the American Songbook. In this evening of ‘Legends of the Jazz Age,’ the audience is treated to on-going tidbits of information about the legends of the booze age, the craziness and partying that prevailed after WWI, in an era where women’s lib gave birth and ‘women bobbed their hair and raised their skirts . . . where kids discovered that cars became bedrooms on wheels.’
Jazz and blues became mainstream and so did great songs like those delivered by guest Ann Hampton Callaway – “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Lover Come Back to Me” along with “It Had to Be You” – duetted with slick harmonic blending by Feinstein and Callaway.
Whether Michael is at the piano playing and singing “Without A Song,” in it’s many variations of rhythms, or standing in front of the mic swinging to “Birth of the Blues,” he’s all heart, skill and loads of fun!
Jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany and his broad baritone (reminiscent of Joe Williams), always delivers the goods with songs like “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You” and “Ain’t She Sweet.” In the spirit of sweet mama string bean, Ethel Waters, Charenee Wade was sassy with “My Handy Man” and “Slow and Easy Man.”
Another thrilling evening of music, vocals and on-going warmth of spirit. See you in the Fall, Michael Feinstein!