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DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

An Evening With Scott Hamilton & Friends

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Scott Hamilton & Michael Feinstein Concord 2004

Two classy entertainers turn this television special and extended DVD into a musical moment that captures your full attention throughout. Michael Feinstein’s grand piano has been placed right next to the skating rink down front. With a small jazz ensemble, he sings from the American Popular Songbook, as a cast of professional skaters accompanies with lots of graceful visual action. He and skater Scott Hamilton host the event and provide a comfortable, up-close look at what makes music the universal language.

With sweater-vest and polka ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Big City Rhythms

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Having created some of the best and most enduring musical catalogs of Great American Songbook composers and some of the best cabaret sets ever heard, Michael Feinstein breaks new ground with his first Big Band album. Growing up in the personal attendance of the legendary Ira Gershwin and in the comforting shadow of such standard bearers as Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer and Irving Berlin, Feinstein has partnered his smokey vocals with the fiery horns of the legendary Maynard Fergusion for Big City Rhythms, his 18th album.

From the gentle small combos of Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin

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Predominantly composed with the warm and familiar intimacy of his famed cabaret sets, Michael Feinstein’s latest release panders a bit to the popular and loses some credibility in the process. A noted expert on the life, times and music of Mr. Gershwin who has performed this material many times before, Feinstein fittingly joins the throngs paying tribute to the centenarian songwriter with this set of fifteen selections, including one on which George himself provides the instrumentation (by way of one of his famous piano rolls).

Though he may be known as the contemporary keeper of the Gershwin ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

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When a top but often undersung crooner pairs up with a similarly situated symphony, the results can often be much more than fantastic. The mellow moods of tunes like “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" and “On a Clear Day" may not allow the power of either to be fully recognized, but the emotional coloring is rich and beautiful. And when Feinstein and Conductor Alan Broadbent give the signal to add some sturm und drang to “Stormy Weather" or to bring the crowd to their feet with a final belt of “I Won’t Send Roses," their reserved power ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Michael and George

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Predominately composed with the warm and familiar intimacy of his famed cabaret sets, Michael Feinstein’s latest release panders a bit to the popular and loses some credibility in the process. A noted expert on the life, times and music of Mr. Gershwin who has performed this material many times before, Feinstein fittingly joins the throngs paying tribute to the centenarian songwriter with this set of fifteen selections, including one on which George himself provides the instrumentation (by way of one of his famous piano rolls). Though he may be known as the contemporary keeper of the Gershwin standard, Michael allows ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Big City Rhythms

Read "Big City Rhythms"

Having created some of the best and most enduring musical catalogs of the composers of the Great American Songbook and some of the best cabaret sets ever heard, Michael Feinstein is breaking new ground with his first Big Band album. Growing up in the personal attendance of the legendary Ira Gershwin and in the comforting shadow of such standard bearers as Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer and Irving Berlin, Feinstein has partnered his smokey vocals with the fiery horns of the legendary Maynard Fergusion for this, his 18th album. From the gentle small combos of Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Romance On Film, Romance On Broadway

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Released just in time for the 2000 holiday season (and I did see this CD filling end-cap displays at Barnes & Noble), the new Michael Feinstein two-CD package broadens his appeal beyond Broadway tunes that he does so famously. Instead, he has chosen romantic tunes written for film and stage as the glue holding together all of the tunes thematically.As one would expect, almost all of the tunes were written by the classic songwriters of earlier generations, going as far back as Irving Berlin’s “Always,” written in 1925. With the usual suspects of Porter, Hammerstein, Kern, Gershwin and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway

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This is a double CD which comes from live sessions by Michael Feinstein at New York's Regency Hotel in April of 2000. The remaining tracks are studio sessions. All of it, as the album title advertises, is Feinstein's interpretations of standards from the Great American Songbook that were introduced or at least given notoriety on a Broadway stage or in a Hollywood film. It never ceases to amaze me how much Feinstein sounds like Johnny Mathis, communicating that intense, emotional feeling that one generally associates with Mathis. His vibrato and the way he uses it to emphasize phrases, the way ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein w/ Maynard Ferguson: Big City Rhythms

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Up to this point, Michael Feinstein has focused his talents on Broadway and Tin Pan Alley tunes. This is his first foray into big band swing, and it's a rewarding and satisfying effort.  Feinstein exhibits expressiveness, precision, and an excellent command of dynamics.  Maynard Ferguson is primarily in a supporting role here, fronting a full big band comprised of his current Big Bop Nouveau personnel, some alumni, and some L.A. big band pros. He does get a few solo spots, such as a trademark high-note solo on "You Can't Lose 'em All," plus some mellow flugelhorn and muted trumpet ornamentations ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band: Big City Rhythms

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Big City Rhythms represents something of a departure for singer / composer / arranger Michael Feinstein. Instead of centering his performance on the works of a single popular composer, as he usually does, Feinstein takes a large bite out of the Great American Songbook; and instead of performing with a small group or generic big band, he enlists the services of trumpeter Maynard Ferguson whose ensemble is hardly an unknown quantity. The upshot is a marvelous album that offers the best of all possible worlds — great singer, great band, great arrangements, great pleasure from start to finish and everywhere ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Big City Rhythms

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What do Michael Feinstein and Maynard Ferguson have in common? They’re both prolific (Feinstein has 18 albums now). Both have an appreciation for popular songs and both employ distinctive sounds. Feinstein’s vocal quality is smooth, shallow and friendly, while Ferguson’s thin, high-pitched trumpet acrobatics are legendary. Neither artist makes full use of music overtones, preferring instead to do without a full, rich, resonant tone. Both have the initials M.F. But that’s where the similarities end.

Feinstein’s strength lies in his interpretation of the Great American Songbook and the ease with which he convinces. It can put tears in your eyes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin

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By now, most people who have some knowledge of popular music (the “standards,” that is, not what passes today for popular), know also that Michael Feinstein is, as the sleeve note to Michael & George asserts, “widely recognized as one of the foremost experts [on] and interpreters of [George] Gershwin’s music. ....” On Michael & George those interpretations are, as always, flawless. Michael knows George well, and knows how to describe his compositions and their lyrics (most of them written by George’s older brother, Ira). This is a wonderful compendium of memorable Gershwin melodies, one with which I have only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Feinstein: Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin

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In person, Michael Feinstein approaches his audience with a shy, polite, unassuming manner. He accompanies himself at the piano and adds interesting interludes to complement his delivery of a lyric. Between numbers his rapport reveals a genuine love for the American popular song; particularly the volumes by Irving Berlin, Harry Warren, and George Gershwin. At the age of 21, Feinstein accepted employment working for Ira Gershwin as a copyist and researcher, and that has led to a career sharing the music with a thirsty public.

George Gershwin’s music was popular entertainment for the masses. Similarly, Feinstein’s performances are entertaining and ...



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