by our Music Guru Maureen ("Mo") Mahoney
"I like New York in June....how about
"I like a Gershwin tune....how about you?"
When I think of a Gershwin tune, the only artist
who comes to mind is the entertainer
keeping this "Timeless" music alive
It is my supreme honor to showcase
the exceptional, the one and only
All of us hold in our memory a special date, a time when something significant happened to us...a birthday celebration, anniversary, new born baby, even buying your first car. However, I must add to this list meeting Michael Feinstein! I will never forget the day for as long as I live. After witnessing my first performance by this gifted man, I knew I would be one of his many lifelong fans, and I'm proud to say...I AM!
I learned all I could about Michael and now I own every CD in his collection, along with some rarities I treasure. I see him perform as often as I can, whether here in Naples, or in NY at his club "Feinstein's at the Regency". Seeing Michael on stage is an event you simply must witness. Only he can create magic from a bygone era and deliver it to his audience as if it were as new as the fresh fallen snow.
Michael Feinstein IS the most talented and gifted artist of our time. He continues to wow crowds all over the world and his fan base grows by multitudes daily. I have learned more about the "Gershwin" era, and every other lyricist and composer I would ever want to know about. He truly is a "teacher" for those of us who want to appreciate the music and history of "The Great American Songbook".
I thought this month's review would be so easy to write, but with all the beautiful CD's that compile Michael's library, I found the task so daunting. How does one choose which album to spotlight that would convey the magnitude of this man's talent? I decided to showcase a few of my favorites, and hope they will soon become some of yours.
Michael's latest release "Hopeless Romantics" is an album of the most romantic songs ever written. These songs favor Michael's voice in the most exquisite form possible. You will feel in your heart an abundance of love, for it spills out from every track. Accompanied by George Shearing, one of the greatest jazz pianists, they are a winning combination of voice and piano. One of the loveliest albums you will add to your collection.
For those of you familiar with Harry
Warren, you will immediately recognize these song
titles. Here is just a sprinkling of the talent he has
contributed to the world:
"I Had The Craziest Dream", "Your Getting to be a Habit with Me", "This Heart of Mine", "At Last", I'll String Along With You", "You're My Everything", "The More I See You", "Serenade in Blue", "I Know Why (and So Do You)", "September in the Rain", "Shadow Waltz", "There Will Never Be Another You", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "You'll Never Know"....can you feel the love from the titles alone? Truly one of the most beautiful works of art.
Another album I play in succession is "Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway". Michael recorded some of the most romantic songs spanning decades from stage and screen, sure to open up your box of memories. Many of the songs on this album, Michael performs in concert, "The More I See You", "As Time Goes By", "Isn't it Romantic" "My Funny Valentine". This double CD for me shows Michael at his supreme best. His talent and baritone vocals were meant to sing these love songs. He knows how to take a song and put his own special spin on each word, each lyric. You can feel the emotion Michael is conveying and I think by far this is truly one of his Fein'est works.
Another album I hold near and dear would be "The Michael Feinstein Anthology", an album abundant with 43 tracks of perfection! Michael has generously chosen some of the most prolific songs by some of the most distinguished composers and lyricists of all time....Gershwin, Porter, Warren, Berlin....the songs, each in their own way, will tug at your heartstrings. His masterful vocal ability moves these songs from an era long ago to the here and now. When Michael sings, you will tend to forget the years gone by and be led back to a time when life was carefree and simple.
If you're anything like me and love the sound of an "orchestra", you simply must purchase Michael's glorious CD "Michael Feinstein with The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra". Michael's sings with an authority and strength that will have your blood pressure rising and your heart palpitating. You may find yourself up and out of your chair dancing. Here he is in command of his voice and reaches a level of perfection surely to leave you spellbound. "The Best Is Yet To Come" will show you how superior Michael Feinstein's artistic ability remains. He can belt out a lyric to the heavens and pull you back in with a magnificence unyielding power.
"By Myself" is another track on this album which shows excellence in the making. As the orchestra becomes more powerful in sound, Michael stays even more compelling in voice. He is exceptional in delivery and presentation, and that's only the 4th track! Listen to how he holds out the notes so unfailing, so perfect in pitch and tone. There is no limit to the talent Michael Feinstein possesses. We truly are the fortunate ones to be a part of the genius that only HE can accelerate to the masses. One of the most remarkable artists you will ever have the pleasure of hearing. Michael Feinstein is the voice....a declaration of supreme articulation!
I should direct you to Michael's website www.michaelfeinstein.com to take a look at the catalog of CD's he has produced over the years. Each one is special and significant in their own way, and they will all come to hold a special place in your home and heart. You can also purchase these albums on www.amazon.com
I would like to touch base on Michael's performances,
because until you see this charismatic artist in
concert, you may not grasp the talent he delivers to the
audience time and time again. There comes a section of
Michael's show where he speaks of the Gershwin's,
notably his time spent working as Ira's assistant.
Michael shares insights, family stories and even some
humor about Ira Gershwin. Michael then invites us, the
audience, to yell out some of our favorite Gershwin
songs and the titles come flying to him at record speed.
"Embraceable You", "Someone To Watch Over Me", "Our Love
Is Here To Stay" to name a few. As he takes his seat
back at the piano, he sings them all! This moment of
Gershwin History is by far a favorite among the crowds,
and one we welcome each and every time.
Learning how Michael played piano at 5, and by sound, it is amazing to see what a phenomenal pianist Michael has become. There are times I don't know what I enjoy more - his artistic "talent of song", or his "tinkling of the ivories". I try and focus on both, for he truly is something to witness! When someone is dripping with this amount of talent, you know what a rarity you have stumbled upon. I've seen his fingers fly over the keyboard at such a speed, it will leave you breathless.
Michael Feinstein is an artist the world needs to see to understand what he holds so precious, yet he wants to share his knowledge of the music, the composers and the lyricists with all of us. He in his own way is teaching all of us the significance of music through his shows. I have always left a performance learning more about Michael and for that, I thank him! To keep up with his tour schedule and so many wonderful and fun things, log onto www.purefeinstein.com and join his ever popular Fan Club.
If you would like to learn more about Michael, I would
suggest purchasing his autobiography titled
"Nice Work If You Can Get It", "My Life in Rhythm and Rhyme" published by Hyperion. I seem to absorb more about his journey each and every time I pick it up to read. Here Michael shares with you his dreams and wishes, what led him to be the most profound artist of our time. A fascinating book you will treasure for years to come.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to
A ticket to see Michael at "Feinstein's at the Regency!"
If you find yourself in the vicinity of Manhattan in the merry month of December, here's a little secret from me to you....Michael Feinstein will be "in the house" at "Feinstein's at the Regency". If you're thinking of the perfect holiday gift for you or a loved one, your search is over! To see Michael perform in the cozy warm atmosphere of the best Cabaret Club in NY, consider yourself one of the luckiest patrons to walk through the door. Michael will serve you a show that is as delicious as the menu! You will leave his show with so much love in your heart, and during the holiday season, isn't it better to give than to receive? So give yourself this gift!
I always like to end my reviews with something witty about the artist I am reviewing, whether it is a quote, a feeling or a tidbit that captures what the artist means to me. So to borrow a song title, (which was a difficult task at best to even choose), I would like to say to Michael here and now....
"There Will Never Be Another You!"
This is my "Mo-ment of Music" I happily share with you.
All the Best,
About Our Music Editor:
Maureen "Mo" Mahoney makes her home in Montgomery Village and spends her free time travelling to NY, Boston, Chicago, and countless other cities to support these amazing artists. She has been published in the "New England Entertainment Digest", as well as "The American Songbook in London" where she has joined Jeff Harnar's creative team.
Mo has also ventured into a new business rightfully named "Artistry in MO-tion" and is working with venues to bring these artists to Performing Arts Centers on the East Coast. Mo will also be involved in the promotional aspect of the D.C. Cabaret Network, hoping to showcase these artists and many others.
Mo has been interviewed for magazines in Naples about her love of this music and the various artists she supports and works so tirelessly for, a true labor of love. We are so lucky and fortunate to have her as a part of the Savvy Women family and look forward to many Mo rewarding and enlightening reviews.