Monday, April 7, 2014

the American Songbook

the American Songbook goes hand in hand with what we generally think of as cabaret material. Yes, we can draw from all corners of the musical spectrum, but the essence of what we sing is usually bundled up in the classic composers from Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers, Arlen.... what is known as the American Songbook. I myself am doing a mini-set of Irving Berlin for this month's salon.

So Jen has found a great new resource nugget for us. It appears to be a new series offered on local PBS affiliate out of New Jersey. The American Songbook at NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Ctr @ Newark.) So far there have been only 6 taped episodes in 2014, but if you have an hour of extra time, it is a great alternative to Netflix. It is marketed as a sort of Inside the Actors Studio that mixes concert performance with a simple piano or trio alongside moderated audience conversations. These are hosted by Ted Chapin who I am very familiar with via the Rodgers & Hammerstein Foundation and he campaigns heavily for music preservation. Most of the artists are from across the river in NYC like Marin Mazie, Rebecca Luker et al. But it also offers up more recent work by Motown's Ashford & Simpson as well as older chestnuts like Sandy Stewart (wife of Moose Charlap.)

It is another blurred line between cabaret, concert and the jazz stage - but always worth a look to see what else is out there.

NJ Public Television

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