By Sandi Durell
Being a part of the 15th Anniversary Party at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation was an eye opener into what good relationships between Russia and the United States could be on multi levels. Sponsored by Time Out Weekly TV Magazine on NTV America and host Oleg Frish is reason enough to say da! Yes to Oleg Frish, who unabashedly refers to himself as a “Crazy Russian,” when he began his TV and radio shows in New York in 1992 becoming the first Russian speaking host to feature the American Songbook, especially jazz and classical pop, and its many celebrity voices who have been interviewed (around 2000) and whose music has been played. Some of them include Lainie Kazan, Tony Orlando, Melissa Manchester, B.J. Thomas, Bobby Rydell, Ben E. King. A lover of American music, Oleg has recorded several CDs including the latest “dream come true” album of duets with the above mentioned icons and more.
The fact is that Time Out Weekly is the longest running TV project on any ethnic TV network completely devoted to American legends of song, movies and media.
In the elaborate surroundings of the Russian Consulate, guests were treated to sumptuous food and drink presented by Tatiana Restaurant (they have my vote as my favorite when visiting Brighton Beach in Brooklyn) followed by concert performances by a list of remarkable singers, musicians and dancers.
Accompanied by top musicians Steve Einerson on piano, Howard Britz on bass, Mark Lopeman on sax and Allan Schwartzberg on drums, we were treated to Oleg as host/performer (an expressive vocalist who sings his favorite tunes throughout the evening), and introduces Dancing With the Stars Gleb Savchenko and his dancing young kids & ‘older’ kids from L.A., Andrey Matorin, a Brazilian jazz violinist, legendary guitarist Gary Lucas, jazz singer Sharon Clark – who performed many times at the Metropolitan Club, and now travels throughout Russia bringing her music and great scat performances abroad – Russian/American jazz trumpeter, the well known Valery Ponomarev, a member of the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers. Always great to see unexpected drop in guests like TV personality, writer and 3 time Emmy Award winner Rita Cosby who graced the stage with many complimentary words along with Mercedes Ellington who had some terrific stories to tell.
And this was just the beginning! Now add on multi Grammy Award nominee, cabaret and jazz living legend Marilyn Maye and B.J. Thomas – 5 time Grammy Winner. The double icing on the blinis! Other people we know included Mercedes Ellington, Kreskin, Bernie & Joanne Furshpan, Myra Chanin, Pat Addiss.
Oh, and lest I forget, all attendees took home a gift bag filled with a huge chocolate bar made by Melanie and, of course, a small bottle of Vodka by Peter Goff.
We all know that music heals so, Oleg Frish, you are the best emissary for peaceful relations between Russia and America. Keep up the good work and this great music! We look forward to celebrating again next year!
Photos/Video: Magda Katz