Jazz and Classical Interviews

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Diane Marino at Her Best!

Diane Marino front page photo 2018In what may be her best album to date, Soul Serenade the Gloria Lynne Project, Nashville based pianist and Jazz singer Diane Marino brings to life the songs of Gloria Lynne whose career spanned a phenomenal six decades.

Marino talks about her decision to delve into Lynne’s catalogue, “I wasn’t too familiar with her, but I heard the name years ago. While I was doing a gig up in New York my drummer was Vince Ector and he was Gloria’s drummer for the last fifteen years of her life. He knew all of the material very well.  We were doing a tune called “I Am Glad There Is You,” which I recorded on another album many years (earlier) and I didn’t realize it was one of her signature songs. When we played it on the gig Vince told me that. Then he said her big song was “I Wish You Love,” and that I know and I sing it too.

It got the wheels turning and I investigated her catalogue of music. I thought these are really cool tunes. I had not heard a lot of them. She also recorded a lot of standards, but the songs that we picked out for this CD I had never heard before.”

As for why this particular selection of songs she says, “It is a combination of the song and how she sang them. It is great stuff. How do you put your finger on how it struck you emotionally? When I listen to her versions, I go wow.  She was very dynamic and very soulful. I sang from the heart and the soul and it just went right through me. That is what brought me to these particular songs and in listening to more of her music I came to appreciate who she was and what she did.”   Read More

Andrea Miller - Maybe Today

Andrea Miller Photo Front PageAndrea Miller, Jazz singer, by choice, but who measured up well with the best R&B and Pop singers when she delved into those genres earlier in her career, may be one of the best young singers on the music scene today. She has drawn praise from the late Al Jarreau with whom she was booked for an extensive tour, before his passing in 2017 (Editor’s note: Al Jarreau passed away, before the tour took place.), from Celine Dion for whom she recorded a demo, as she worked with David Foster, as well as Alan and Marilyn Bergman and from producer, arranger, songwriter and musician Tom Saviano (Dolly Parton, Melissa Manchester (as musical director and arranger), Dusty Springfield, Sheena Easton and others).   

Andrea Miller recently released her new album Maybe Today, composed and arranged by Michael Cunningham, an album that they hope to tour with full orchestral support.

She talks about the album, “They are all of Michael Cunningham’s arrangements and compositions. It is almost like I am the voice of Michael Cunningham on this particular album. These are his wonderfully orchestrated string arrangements. A lot of his original material is on the album.

We did some covers, “It’s All Right With Me,” “The Water Is Wide,” and “You Would Be So Nice To Come Home To.”  He wrote everything else on the album.  I love his writing so much and he in turn likes my voice a lot, so we decided to make an album together.  Read More

Outside the Soiree - Erin McDougald

Erin McDougald Photo Front PageOutside the Soiree, is the name of the album by Jazz singer, arranger and songwriter Erin McDougald, a fitting title for someone who does not shy away from putting a different twist on her music and music that has been composed by others. That said McDougald is far from being a wild child or the 2018 version of in your face Punk come to set the Jazz world on its ear. She is in fact far from that. Erin McDougald is respectful of Jazz music heritage, tips her hat to lyricists and composers from yesteryear and she allows a lot of room for her musicians to showcase their talents. All of those elements are on display in abundance on Outside the Soiree.

For many years now Erin McDougald has been compared to Jazz icons such as Anita O’Day and as flattering as that may be it does a disservice to the tremendous talent that McDougald possesses. This writer would like to suggest that it is now time for Jazz journalists, reviewers and fans to start using Erin McDougald as the gold standard to which other artists should aspire.

The music from Outside the Soiree is being played on the radio from coast to coast with stations in New York City and in Los Angeles raving about Erin McDougald’s vocals, her arrangements and the fabulous musicians who compliment her so well, such as, Mark Sherman (vibraphones), soprano and tenor saxophonist Dave Liebman, percussionist Chembo Corniel, pianist and guitarist Rob Block, drummer Rodney Green, Tom Harrell (trumpet and Flugelhorn), bassist Cliff Schmitt and Dan Block (flute, clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone). Read More

Maria Elena Infantino Interview

Maria Elena Infantino Photo for Front PageSinger and actress Maria Elena Infantino will be performing on November 3rd (2017) at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood for the opening ceremony of the ARPA International Film Festival’s screening of the film Dalida. Dalida is based on the life and career of the legendary singer by the same name and as Infantino notes, of course she will be performing one of Dalida’s songs.   

Maria Elena Infantino’s performance at the ARPA International Film Festival could not come at a better time, as she continues to develop a new one woman show (she is well celebrated for her Édith Piaf show), this time featuring the music of Dalida.

Infantino says, “Dalida sang in fourteen languages. She was the Disco queen and she was huge in the seventies. She inspired me in the sense that it is so dramatic and theatrical to represent her life on stage. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary since her passing. I met the actress and the director from the movie Dalida, which was filmed in France and I thought why don’t I do this? She had such a wonderful life and for two years I have already incorporated some of her songs into my show. I sing “Bambino,” and “Paroles, Paroles,” the famous duet that she did with Alain Delon. I think I will be doing a show about her very soon, because everyone claims her. The Lebanese love her, the Armenians, the Egyptians, the  Read More

Stew Cutler - Every Sunday Night

Stew Cutler Front Page PhotoDrop on in every Sunday night and hear us play. After listening to Stew Cutler’s album Every Sunday Night that is exactly what you will want to do and you will be checking out his website to figure out where he is playing his next gig. For the first time in more than a decade (our fault not his) we sat down with the affable guitarist / composer and talked about his new album.  

The album opens with “The Grind” introduced by Nick Semrad’s organ, percussion by Bill McClellan and a scintillating guitar solo by Cutler. If you like Funk and you salivate over a good groove with a late night nightclub feel then you are going to love “The Grind.”

Cutler talks about when he first started working on this album in 2015, “I was trying to arrange for somebody to come into the club and to just record us there, but for a variety of reasons I couldn’t get it to work. I went to a studio where I had previously recorded and I was very comfortable with the place, plus the engineer (Rich Gaglia) is brilliant. I thought it could flow pretty well if we came in and just more or less played live. It was recorded in one and one-half days.  There aren’t a lot of overdubs.  “The Grind,” was done in just one take.

I met Rich when I was still involved with   Read More

Celia Berk

Celia Berk front page photoThere is something about listening to a singer who knows how to infuse each and every phrase of a song with authenticity and when she is accompanied by superbly orchestrated musicians playing exquisite arrangements that puts you right in the middle of the scenes that she has vividly brought to life. Celia Berk’s interpretation of the songs on her current album Manhattan Serenade accomplishes all of that. The collection of thirteen songs by composers and lyricists such as David Heneker, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart, Cy Coleman and David Zippel and others is Ms. Berk’s love letter to the city she has lived in and around her entire life. This is home for Celia Berk and in the midst of the hustle and bustle and masses of people she finds beauty and peace. That is really what this album Manhattan Serenade is all about.

It is about a woman who was born in Manhattan and grew up on Long Island, before eventually moving back to New York City, as an adult. As a young girl her mother would take her to the Opera on Saturdays and Celia Berk’s father inspired within her a love for the Great American Songbook.

“My mother took me to the Opera and she started out when she first came to the city and they had a subscription  Read More 

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