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Michael Feinstein: Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin

Jim Santella By

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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 informative. Most of the songs include an instrumental interlude, such as those from guitarist Federico Ramos on "Shall We Dance?," Gary Foster’s alto saxophone & flute, and Novi Novog’s viola elsewhere. Even George Gershwin’s piano artistry is represented on "Swanee" by way of a piano roll that he made some 80 years ago.

Michael Feinstein has his way with a lyric, using tender loving care, lucid articulation, and a charming presence that seems to manifest itself in his voice through the careful altering of dynamic levels. With a string orchestra backdrop, he presents beautiful tunes such as "Embraceable You," "Funny Face," "Of Thee I Sing," "Nobody But You," and "Soon." Electronic instruments and synthesizers color "Do It Again," "Shall We Dance?," and "Love Walked In." Feinstein’s solo piano portrayal of "Comes the Revolution" serves as an introduction to "Soon." Offering backing vocals on "Oh Gee – Oh Joy!," David Lasley, Arnold McCuller, and Bruce Roberts create a harmony that resembles The Pied Pipers in front of Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra. Stan Freeman’s grand piano accompaniment to Feinstein’s vocal on "Lonely Boy," with its pointers to "Rhapsody in Blue," produces a dramatic mood to suit the lyrics. The tribute to George Gershwin is genuine and offered with loving care.

Track Listing: Embraceable You; Nobody But You; (Our) Love Is Here to Stay; Do It Again; Of Thee I Sing; Funny Face; Lonely Boy; Shall We Dance?; Oh Gee!

Title: Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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