Friday, October 30, 2009

Michael Feinstein and Cheyenne Jackson to release album

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, the five-time Grammy Award nominated, platinum-selling singer and pianist, and CHEYENNE JACKSON – the Broadway star of Xanadu, All Shook Up and the current revival of Finian’s Rainbow – have announced the release of their first CD together, The Power of Two.

Based on the sold-out engagement at Michael’s New York nightclub, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency the disc features pop songs, classic standards and numbers from Broadway shows like Kiss Me Kate, City Of Angels and The King and I. The disc, released through Harbinger Records, will be available on iTunes, and in stores on November 3.

The Power of Two, called “passionate, impeccably harmonized and groundbreaking” by Stephen Holden in The New York Times, deftly explores partnerships of all kinds. Rex Reed of the New York Observer praised it as “unusual, provocative entertainment that makes listeners think and snap their fingers at the same time.”

The album’s opening duet ”I’m Nothing Without You” sets a tone of celebration from what the New York Daily News calls the “Dynamic Duo.” The album’s title track, “The Power of Two,” a folk ballad originally performed by The Indigo Girls about the difficulties and joys of love, emerges as one of the disc’s high points. Feinstein brings strong conviction to the rare Marshall Barer / Michael Leonard song “The Time Has Come,” performed as a tribute to the 1969 Stonewall uprising. “We Kiss in a Shadow” from The King and I – reconceived as a gay equality anthem – gives Hammerstein’s lyrics “Alone in our secret, together we sigh, for one smiling day to be free” a bold new meaning.

The album gives both performers a chance in the solo spotlight. Michael takes center stage in a surging version of “So In Love,” and a special new recording of “Old Friend,” a longtime staple of his repertoire which he revisits after many years. Cheyenne shines in a sly take on “Old Devil Moon” from his current gig in Finian’s Rainbow and a heartbreaking medley of the standards “I Get Along Without You Very Well” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

Their final duet, “If I Can Dream,” has a special meaning for both vocalists. Performed by Cheyenne on Broadway in his breakthrough role in All Shook Up, it was written for Elvis Presley’s 1968 “Comeback Special” by W. Earl Brown, a personal friend of Michael’s. In his archives, Michael has an original copy of the sheet music singed to Elvis by the songwriter.
The CD was produced by Feinstein and Jackson and features John Oddo on piano; Tony Kadleck on trumpet and flugelhorn; David Mann on tenor sax, flute and clarinet; David Finck on acoustic and electric bass; Bob Mann on guitar; David Ratajczak on drums and percussion. The disc also features special musical arrangements by John Oddo.

Michael Feinstein –
the multi-platinum selling, five-time Grammy nominated entertainer dubbed of “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook” – is considered one of the premiere interpreters of American Popular Song. His 150 plus shows a year have included Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and major concert halls, as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. More than a mere performer, he is nationally recognized for his commitment to the American popular song, both celebrating its art and preserving its legacy for the next generation.

The Sinatra Project –
his latest CD from Concord Records which celebrates the musical sensibilities of “Old Blue Eyes” – earned Michael his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009. Feinstein is currently preparing the new PBS-TV series “Michael Feinstein's American Popular Song,” to start airing in 2010, in which Michael discovers treasures of the Great American Songbook around the world. Michael hosted and produced The Great American Songbook, a PBS Special and DVD set from Warner Brothers Home Video that traces the history of popular music in our country. He is designing a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano. Feinstein will also serve as the Artistic director of the Carmel Performing Arts Center, a $160 million three-theatre performing arts center in Carmel, Indiana which will host an annual international Great American Songbook festival, along with diverse live programming and a museum to house his rare memorabilia and manuscripts.

Michael has written the score for two new stage musicals: The Day They Saved Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and The Gold Room, and he is working with MGM to develop The Thomas Crown Affair into a musical for Broadway.

Feinstein’s at Loews Regency has presented the top talents of pop and jazz such as Rosemary Clooney, Steve Tyrell, Barbara Cook, Tony Danza, Glen Campbell, Diahann Carroll, Jackie Mason and Dame Cleo Laine. He appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year. The Library of Congress elected Michael to the exclusive “National Sound Recording Advisory Board” safeguarding America’s musical heritage.

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Cheyenne Jackson is an award winning stage and film actor currently starring as Woody in the new Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow at the St. James Theatre. Most recently Cheyenne was rocking the house as Sonny Malone in the smash hit Xanadu (Drama League, Drama Desk nominations) on Broadway. Off and on Broadway he starred as Joe Hardy in the New York City Center production of Damn Yankees opposite Jane Krakowski and Sean Hayes, Nicky Silver's The Agony & the Agony with Victoria Clark, All Shook Up (Theater World Award, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nomination) the premier cast of Altar Boyz, Aida, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Cartells, On The 20th Century and The 24 Hour Plays.

Jackson’s film credits include the Oscar nominated United 93, Curiosity and Hysteria. He has guest starred on TV in “30 Rock,” “Ugly Betty,” “Lipstick Jungle” and “Life After Mars.” Additionally, he portrayed "Sebastian Kinglare" for the Sony/Lifetime Television pilot "Family Practice." Cheyenne made his sold-out club debut in with his show “Back to the Start” at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency earlier this year.

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Harbinger Records, which celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2010, is a leading independent CD label featuring the Great American Songbook. Stars of stage, cabaret, and jazz have graced the Harbinger label. Ken Bloom and Bill Rudman, owners of Harbinger Records, co-produced the Grammy-nominated Great Songs of the Cotton Club by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, featuring the legendary Maxine Sullivan. Maxine and pianist/arranger Keith Ingham were also featured on two subsequent Harbinger CDs featuring songs by Burton Lane and Jule Styne. Bloom and Rudman also produced Peggy Lee’s Love Held Lightly: Rare Songs by Harold Arlen. In addition, Harbinger has released the catalog of the Walden Records label on CD featuring great songs by the masters of the American Musical Theatre. Among the artists on Harbinger records are Barbara Carroll, Eric Comstock, Sylvia McNair, Amy Burton and Heather MacRae. Harbinger has also issued historic recordings by Noel Coward, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Ethel Merman, Mabel Mercer and Susan Johnson.

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