By: Sandi Durell
Tis the season . . . ho, ho, ho and the “purveyor of the Great American Songbook” and his 17 piece band are filling Birdland with a mix of old and new songs that all add up to holiday happiness.
After a hot instrumental “Bugle Call Rag,” a sparkling Michael Feinstein (yes, he does have some interesting additions to that well-fitted tuxedo jacket) took the stage with new, softer, slower renditions of “Broadway Baby” and “I Won’t Dance” and some reminiscences about Elaine Stritch (who used his house to rehearse) as well as favorite Fred Astaire.
The evening went international with Barroso’s “Brazil” featuring solos by the band and Mr. F at the piano; a jazzy “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” and a 12 song tribute to Sinatra (including Come Fly With Me/Angel Eyes/All or Nothing At All – cleverly woven together), who would have celebrated his 99th birthday December 12, marked the beginnings of a year of celebrations for the Chairman’s centennial.
The evening was filled with many ballads, some sad, some lonely – “Time in a Bottle” with Pete Smith on guitar and Mr. Feinstein singing a smooth, silky wistful version a heartfelt highlight.
The songs can change evening to evening as Tedd Firth leads this extraordinary band of musicians that include: Andy Farber on Reed 1, Nathan Childers on Reed 2, Aaron Heick on Reed 3, Brandon Wright on Reed 4, Kurt Bacher on Reed 5, Nick Marchione on Trumpet 1, Alphonso Horne on Trumpet 2, Mark McGowan on Trumpet 3, Warren Vache on Trumpet 4, Marshall Gilkes on Trombone 1, Art Baron on Trombone 2, Mike Buscarino on Trombone 3, James Borowski on Trombone 4, Pete Smith on Guitar, Sean Smith on Bass, Mark McLean on Drums.
What’s a holiday without Michael Feinstein? This special show can be seen thru December 27th at Birdland Jazz. 315 West 44th Street, NYC. Tickets: 212 581-3080. And the word is now that Feinstein’s on Broadway (below Birdland) will be opening in the Fall of 2015, the new space hot and heavy in renovation.