Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Michael Feinstein, George Shearing|
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
These sixteen performances are a perfect pairing of vocalist and pianist. Both Michael Feinstein and George Shearing work well in such a spare setting and they've wisely chosen to focus exclusively on ballads. These two co... more »
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These sixteen performances are a perfect pairing of vocalist and pianist. Both Michael Feinstein and George Shearing work well in such a spare setting and they've wisely chosen to focus exclusively on ballads. These two consummate musicians, a generation apart, are united by the timelessness of the traditions they both draw from. For this project they turned to the songs of an under celebrated American composer, Harry Warren. While many of his songs are well known standards, his name is less recognized than such contemporaries of his as George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern. This elegant set brings to mind a classic collaboration from three decades earlier by Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. Recorded with warm clarity, the CD moves with subtle momentum, as the passion in the performances ebbs and flows across the luxurious songs. --David Greenberger
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Kevin Stanton | Pittsburgh | 10/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George Shearing and Michael Feinstein are a great pair to deliver these timeless songs.
Michaels voice hasn't been better! His voice is smooth and relaxed here, very nice. And George Shearing's piano is done to perfection! A flawless piano to accompany a great voice.
This is easily the best cd that Feinstein has put out in years."
Michael Feinstein Sings & George Shearing Plays: What A Perf
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | CA USA | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""George Shearing's favorite songs to play are ballads and as a singer, I felt the same way. The thought of making an album of romantic ballads with a legend is exciting, challenging and joyful. Through the years we have inevitably spoken of recording together. Finally, that shared dream has come to fruition." ~ Michael Feinstein
I know a great singer when I hear one - and that is undoubtedly Michael Feinstein, a very talented interpreter of the Great American Songbook. His renditions of these classic songs are splendid and unsurpassed.
I know a great pianist when I hear one. This I attribute to my piano teacher, a graduate of Conservatory of Music, when I was taking lessons during my formative years - Saturday afternoons at home an hour each for us - the sisters. (Ms. Gatchalian, thank you for all the Hanon, Koehler and Czerny exercises and your well-chosen classical pieces for me and my sisters - one of them became a piano teacher.) One of my late father's rules was that all his daughters must learn how to play the piano whether we like it or not. There were three basic musical instruments at home - piano, guitar and harmonica. And I would certainly say that Mr. Shearing is one such great jazz pianist. What a very rare talent he is! His being blind is not at all a liability to him on becoming one of the finest jazz pianists of all-time. I love solo piano accompaniment and I consider this album a wonderful treat not only to piano music aficionados but also for fine music connoisseurs. Mr. Shearing did an excellent job on the sublime piano arrangements with classical touches.
Harry Warren was a very good friend of Mr. Feinstein and what a nice way to pay tribute to his hero, one of the greatest and my favorite tunesmiths of all-time. All the songs he penned are so remarkable and have been performed and recorded by famous artists through the years. Some of his very best compositions are highlighted in this album produced by the singer himself. Likewise, these songs are all-time favorites and have been on my "Listmania: My Favorite Harry Warren Songs." But my very highlight is "You're My Everything," which I loved to play on piano and has two versions. The first version is with a slow tempo arrangement and the alternate take is more upbeat and jazzy.
"You're my everything
Everything I need
You're the song I sing
And the book I read
You're a way beyond belief
And just to make it brief
You're my winter, summer, spring
This is one of the greatest collaborations I've ever heard between two creative and fine musicians. Great singing and great piano playing. Simply great music to listen to. Very, very highly recommended!
* * * * *TEN STARS* * * * *
Two Reviews; Pick One
Rick Cornell | Reno, Nv USA | 07/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an album of 15 songs written by the late, great Harry Warren (recall the play/review "42nd Street"), sung by the great Michael Feinstein and accompanied by the great George Shearing. Every song is sung as a ballad, and nothing is played or sung louder than mezzo piano.
What to say about it? I see a strong case for a four-star review, and I see a strong case for a five-star review.
Four stars: While there is much to admire in the musicality of these two great musicians, they sound here as though they are competing for the prize of who can pull back the most. Except for slight flourishes on "I Know Why (And So Do You)" and "Shadow Waltz", the normally ebullient Shearing (recall his "New York New York" and "Lullaby of Birdland" with Torme, for example) is barely recognizable. Songs that normally have drama to them, such as "At Last" and "I Only Have Eyes for You", have been stripped of that here. As a result, these pieces almost sound like pieces from a museum. The curators, Feinstein and Shearing, have preserved pieces to be admired; but I personally like living things.
Five stars: Do any of you have any idea how difficult it is to sing a piece softly, without losing tonality, without losing focus, and making your lowest note sound as clear as your uppermost? Can any of you appreciate a singer who can train his voice such as to make his falsetto sound like his chest voice in timbre? Feinstein does that here--15 times. Every note is burnished with beauty. And I do mean every note. When I think of great 5-star albums, such as John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Sinatra's "Sings for Only the Lonely" or last year's "One to Every Heart" by Mark Murphy, I ask: "Why not 5 stars?" Indeed, why ever not? The distinctions between the 4, in terms of beautiful end product (albeit different styles) are insignificant.
My verdict: Given that I have had nothing but this c.d. in my player for the past 7 days, I have to give it 5. I just don't have that happen with 4-star c.d.'s. Besides, this is a perfect album to sing along with in the car, while driving to choir practice. Try to match up with Mr. Feinstein for 15 minutes, and by the time you get to rehearsal, you're good to go. RC