Posted in AmericanSongbook, Anderson Twins, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, jazz, Jerome Kern, Jimmy Van Heusen, Songbook, The Anderson Twins

Come along and hear the “Songbook Summit”

ATJ_SONGBOOK 11x17 POSTER JPEGOften as not, a gimmick can be the framework that showcases a great talent, particularly when it’s the hook for an act that’s really got the goods.

For the saxophone duo, Peter and Will Anderson, the trick that underscores their accomplishments is that they are twins, with Peter on the tenor and soprano sax (plus clarinet) and Will on the alto, the clarinet and the flute.

This summer they will head up a 2018 Songbook Summit at Symphony Space where they will be joined by Molly Ryan (vocals), Tarlo Hammer or Steve Ash (piano), Clovis Nicholas (accoustic bass) and Philip Stewart (drums). (NB there was a 2017 Summit as well.)

There is no denying the charm the brothers Anderson bring to their curaitons. The schedule for the jazz events gives us, first up, Irving Berlin from August 7 through 12; next Jerome Kern is featured from the 14th through the 19th. The fellas and their sextet pay their respects to Hoagy Carmichael from August 21st through the 26th, and Jimmy Van Heusen from August 28th through September 2nd.

For tickets and information visit the Symphony Space site, and the Anderson twins home page.

 

 

Posted in acting, activists, actors, allegory, artist, aspiration, athletes, ballet, balletic, comedy-drama, committment, concert, Daily Prompt, dance, dancing, drama, empowerment, expectations, farce, film, high expectations, jazz, joy, memory play, Meryl Streep, mime, modern dance, monologues, movie, multi-disciplinary performances, music, musical theater, musical theatre, musicals, musicals and dramas, mystery, narration, off Broadway, Off or Off-Off Broadway Transfer, offbeat work, one act plays, one man show, one-woman show, opera, painting, pantomime, parody, performance art, performance piece, performance works, photography, play, play with music, public performance in public spaces, radio play, revival, revue, rock and roll, satire, scary stories, sci fi, screwball comedy, Short plays, sketches, skits, tango, tap dance, theater for the common good, theater lovers, theatrical events, tragedy, tragi-comic

Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in concert, jazz, music

Oh Joy

Kenny Washington on drums and Pat Bianchi on organ, with (l-r) Harry Allen, Will Anderson and Peter Anderson on sax, in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez
Kenny Washington on drums and Pat Bianchi on organ, with (l-r) Harry Allen, Will Anderson and Peter Anderson on sax, in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez

While watching The Joy of Sax, at 59E59’s Theater A, it occurred to me that Jazz is often a conversation between instruments. Pat Bianchi’s Hammond B-3 organ chattered with Kenny Washington’s drums. Don’t think of the Hammond B-3 organ as belonging out of church? Think again. It has a versatile voice with lots to say for itself.

The three saxes, Pater and Will Anderson and Harry Allen held interesting commentary back and forth.

 

L-R: Peter Anderson, Will Anderson and Harry Allen in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez
L-R: Peter Anderson, Will Anderson and Harry Allen in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez

All this on International Jazz Day (April 30th.) The Joy of Sax plays through May 7th.

To find out more about the program and to get tickets, please visit 59e59.org.

Note that the Anderson Twins also hold a post-show live Jazz show in 59E59’s E-Bar on Thursday nights.

Posted in April in Paris, Cole Porter, Django Reinhardt, jazz, Josephine Baker, Le Jazz Hot, Linda Porter, Paris Blues, Sidney Bichet, Stevie Holland, The Anderson Twins

Paris Swings

Peter Anderson (clarinet), Will Anderson (sax),
Luc Decker (drums), Clovis Nicolas (bass), and
Alex Wintz (guitar) in “Le Jazz Hot How The
French Saved Jazz”
at 59E59 Theaters.
Photo by Eileen O’Donnell
“Love, Linda- The Life of Mrs.
Cole Porter,”
at The York
Theatre Company. Photos by
Carol Rosegg.

It’s no canard that the French took to American jazz like a duck to water.

Starting in the 1920’s, American musicians fled to the receptive shores of the Seine (and the Riviera) to enjoy a lively and welcoming cabaret scene. 
Among those were Les Cole Porters, as well as ex-pats Josephine Baker and Sidney Bichet. Bud Powell, Kenny Clark and Dizzy Gillespie felt right at home in France. Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong also made appearances before an admiring public.
Stevie Holland’s and Gary William Friedman’s “Love, Linda- The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter,” premiering at The York Theatre Company through January 5th, tells the story of Cole Porter as husband. Cole and Linda Porter (Stevie Holland) set up house in one of the fashionable arrondissments and entertained lavishly, and enjpyed the cabaret life of the city.  “Love, Linda” documents in story and with songs by Cole Porter (arranged for “Love, Linda…” by Friedman) their life from Europe and back to the States. Cole Porter wrote music for revues, but met his first success wth the Broadway show “Paris,” from which the hit “Let’s Do It/Let’s Fall In Love” emerged.
Stevie Holland is Linda Porter in “Love, Linda…” Sets by James Morgan, costumes by Pamela Dennis. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
“Love, Linda…” covers a lot more ground than just the Porters’ sojourn in France. Linda Lee Thomas  was Cole’s senior  by nearly a decade, and married at the time they met. While aware of his homosexuality, she was drawn to his talent and gentleness, a contrast to her first husband’s brutality. Their marriage was more thna just one of convenience. Linda nurtured Cole’s art. 
“The appreciation of beauty,” Linda quotes her mother as saying, “is taste. The creation of  beauty is art.”
Holland is supported by music director Christopher McGovern on piano, Alex Wyatt on drums, and Danny Weller on bass. Richard Maltby, Jr. helms Linda’s story, which is cogently told in story and music. 
Peter and Will Anderson lead their “Le Jazz Hot” quintet. Photo by Eileen O’Donnell
“Le Jazz Hot- How The French Saved Jazz,” at 59E59 Theater’s E-Cafe through December 29th, takes an overview of Paris and its jazz scene from the years when Josephine Baker awed (and shocked) the world to the 50’s and 60’s, when Kenny Clarke and Bud Powell were regulars in the boites.

Peter and Will Anderson (sax, clarinets, flute) with Alex Wintz on guitar, Luc Decker on drums, and Clovis Nicolas on bass. (At other performances, you might encounter guitarist Randy Napoleon, bassist Neal Miner and drummer Phil Stewart on the small stage.) The apex of their virtuosity is in the performance of Duke Ellington’s “Paris Blues.” “La Vie en Rose” is pleasantly familiar while Django Reinhardt’s “Manoir de Mes Reves” is hauntingly unfamiliar.

Cabaret mixed with informative film clips makes “Le Jazz Hot” an amiable entertainment.

For more information about “Love, Linda…,” visit http://www.lovelindathemusical.com/. To learn more about “Le Jazz Hot,” please visit 59e59.org.

Posted in Benoit-Swann Pouffer, Berkeley Festival, bio-musical, Bob Dylan, Daniel S. Wise, David Schechter, gospel, jazz, Jeremy Chess, Jewish liturgical music, Neshama Carlebach, Nina Simone, Reb Schlomo Carlebach, rock

"Soul Doctor:" When The Rebbe Met the Jazz Singer

The cast of “Soul Doctor,” including Ian Paget, Teddy Walsh, Ryan Strand, Alexandra Frohlinger, and
Abdur-Rahim Jackson surround Eric Anderson as Shlomo Carlebach (with guitar). Photo by Carol Rosegg.

It’s such an old adage that it is often dismissed as trivial, but music does have the power to unite and soothe!

In “Soul Doctor,” at Circle in the Square for what should prove a very long run, a fusion of musical styles seems to restore the “doctor” as much as it does his flock.

Shlomo Carlebach (Eric Anderson), whose autobiography is inspiration for “Soul Doctor,” created by David Schechter (lyrics) and Daniel S. Wise (book, and direction) from a concept by Jeremy Chess, with additional material by Neshama Carlebach, came to be known as the “Rockstar Rabbi.” Learning about him is one of the many blessings of this musical.

Stiff and bashful to begin with, Anderson’s Shlomo grows into the easy showman who goes everywhere to spread a message of love and peace. Shlomo even returns to Vienna, from which he and his family fled the Nazis when he was a boy. It’s Nina  Simone (Amber Iman), who invites him to join her in the 1972 concert in the Vienna City Square. Nina seems to have had a knack of recognizing what Shlomo needed for him to find healing.

Eric Anderson as Rabbi Carlebach and Amber Iman as Nina Simone in “Soul Doctor.” Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Admittedly, Nina Simone is an unusual hook for a story, but then this is an unusual tale about the unusual musical force, that was Shlomo Carlebach. Shlomo stumbled upon Nina playing in a Greenwich Village bar and they remained fast friends. She liberated his voice, and helped launch his performing and recording career.

Much of the music in “Soul Doctor” is a fusion of jazz, rock, folk and the Jewish liturgical traditions and gospel, written by Shlomo Carlebach, who died in 1994 at the age of 69.

Shlomo Carlebach, the hippie Rabbi, sang of “harmony and understanding.” He said “We have to show them a picture of a better world,” and went about changing millions “one by one by one.”

The large ensemble cast anchored by Eric Anderson as Shlomo and Amber Iman as Nina are terrific. There is some very original choreography that also helps carry “Soul Doctor,” by Benoit-Swan Pouffer. Nice work all around.

As “Soul Doctor” opens, and the cast wanders in through the auditorium and onto the stage, singing joyously, it’s tempting, if a bit glib, to say that “Hair” has met “Fiddler.”  “Soul Doctor” has much of the same life-affirming spirit of those terrific musicals. And  an uplifting spirit all its own, as well.

Visit http://souldoctorbroadway.com/ to learn more about “Soul Doctor.”

Posted in dance, family drama, fathers and sons, flamenco, inheritance, jazz, office, wealth and power, work

The Weekend Report

Those of us lucky enough to have a weekend, don’t have Daniel for a boss.

Rich, powerful, charismatic and abusive, Daniel is an off-stage presence in “Assistance,” at Playwrights Horizons through March 11. Daniel is unseen and unheard– calling in to his minions from London and Tokyo.

Vince’s (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe), Nick’s (Michael Esper) and Nora’s (Virginia Kull) reactions are the witness to his rants against their incompetence and grammatical failings. Meltdowns are legion as are firings.

Virginia Kull as Nora with Amy Rosoff as Jenny in background. Photo © Joan Marcus

Leslye Headland’s paean to the working classes. Well to those enthrall to the great wealth and financial success of ogreish moguls.

Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Vince and Michael Esper as Nick. Photo © Joan Marcus

Serving a petty tyrant is a choice for these young people. Jenny (Amy Rosoff) is thrilled at the chance to work more closely with Daniel, for instance. The hapless Heather (Sue Jean Kim), on the other hand, chooses her uncle’s funeral over an assignment in Chicago, with seemingly dire consequences for her.

Sue Jean Kim as Heather. Photo © Joan Marcus

Bobby Steggert’s Justin has a short but convincing stint on stage, demonstrating just how far around the bend the Daniels of this world can take their proteges.

The players in “Assistance” under Trip Cullman’s deft direction are all splendid. In the surprise coda to “Assistance,” Amy Rosoff exhibits outstanding and completely unexpected talents.

The assistants in “Assistance” might benefit from a workplace drug like the one in Kate Fodor’s “Rx.”
(See commentary on “Rx.”)

Visit www.playwrightshorizons.org for a schedule of performances.

Over at the glassworks, power also wrests in the master’s hands.

In “Rutherford & Son,” at The Mint Theater Company through April 8th, playwright Githa Sowerby captured the tone and cadence of a miserable rural life, both in John Rutherford’s (Robert Hogan) home and his factory. He has sacrificed his children’s happiness to respectability and financial success.

See video <a href="http://

Rutherford & Son at the Mint Theater from Mint Theater Company on Vimeo.

It’s easy to see why “Rutherford & Son” was a sensation when it had its premiere at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1912 and then again a few months later when it opened on Broadway. Githa Sowerby understood not only the mores of a small town but also the ebb and flow of business.

David Van Pelt as Martin and Sara Surrey as Janet. Photo © Richard Termine

The fine cast under Jonathan Bank’s sure-handed direction also understand the rhythms of this old-fashioned but very modern play. Sara Surrey particularly stands out as John Rutherford’s embittered spinster daughter, Janet, and Eli James is exceptional as his thwarted and feckless son, John.

For more information and a schedule of performances, please visit www.minttheater.org.

Working it in a completely different way were the guitarists (and their ensembles) Doug Wamble and Nino Joselle in Jazz Meets Flamenco at JALC’s Allen Room on February 24th and 25th, with two remarkable dancers, Jason Samuel Smith representing the jazz-tap side and Juan De Juan onboard to represent Flamenco.

See pictures from the show here.

Jazz at Lincoln Center invited the two guitarists to showcase their flamenco sensibilities. Doug Wamble rose to the occasion with a composition for reeds (John Ellis), bass (Eric Revis), drums (Rudy Royston) and most importantly tap (Jason Samuel Smith.) “The Traveler” is a song cycle, performed by Mr. Wamble and his ensemble, and punctuated by very fancy footwork by Mr. Smith.

The Flamenco side of the program, represented by the incredible and fierce Juan De Juan, dancing to the music performed by Mr. Joselle and his bassist (John Benitez) and percussionist (Horatio “El Negro” Hernandez) won the dance off despite Mr. Smith’s accomplished performance. Juan De Juan accomplishes the seemingly impossible in his Flamenco interpretations.

The special treat here was watching Jason Samuel Smith and Juan De Juan together for the finale of the program.

For more information about Jazz At Lincoln Center programs, visit www.jalc.org.
The Flamenco Festival 2012 in New York City continues this month with, among other venues, performances at New York City. Visit www.nycitycenter.org for more information.