Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
This Sunday night on CBS…
Every year we’ve dedicated our Friday night music feature to some of the nominees but with some twists.
With most of the attention on the big headline nominees like JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, P!nk, and Ed Sheeran, our blog looks at some of the other gazillion categories. Not as attention-grabbing, but quality stuff for sure.
Let’s get started.
In December 2016, NBC broadcast a special that featured some of the best voices in history paying homage to Frank Sinatra’s favorite singer. The network commemorated the 90th birthday of Tony Bennett.
Doug Vaughan, the executive vice president for special programs and late night at NBC, told the NY Times, “Not that every 90-year-old doesn’t deserve marking that milestone, but Tony is such an icon and such a beloved American legend.”
In an interview with the newspaper, Bennett was loving his undying popularity.
“We’re sold out everywhere I’m playing,” Bennett said. “The audiences are going crazy for the show. They know that I’m 90, and I come out and I’m in top shape. After the third or fourth song, they start flippin’ out. I’m getting five or six standing ovations a night. When they start acting like that, I just go home very pleased.”
Artists such as Stevie Wonder, Leslie Odom Jr., Lady Gaga, Billie Joel, Elton John and Bob Dylan paid tribute on the NBC special “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come.”
Columbia Records released a CD of the special that is now up for a Grammy. Nominated for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” is “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90,” (Various Artists), Dae Bennett, Producer.
Nominated in the same category is the man behind this character’s voice.
That’s Seth MacFarlane. His 4th album that got him a Grammy nomination was recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studios with a glorious 48-piece orchestra.
Granted, this is another Great American Songbook album, but this is not just another Great American Songbook album.
Yes, MacFarlane often gets too disgusting with his Family Guy humor. But his standards have always been reverential. Thank goodness he like many others has chosen to shed light on the real pop classics.
From MacFaralane’s album, you talk about a forgotten oldie. This one debuted on Broadway in 1947.
Then in 1954 it was sung in the movie version.
You’ve never seen “Brigadoon?”
You’ve never even heard of “Brigadoon?”
Find the video. See it. You’ll love it.
Here’s one online review:
Americans Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, on a hunting vacation in Scotland, discover a quaint and beautiful village, Brigadoon. Strangely, the village is not on any map, and soon Tommy and Jeff find out why: Brigadoon is an enchanted place. It appears once every hundred years for one day, then disappears back into the mists of time, to wake up to its next day a century hence. When Tommy falls in love with Fiona, a girl of the village, he realizes that she can never be part of his life back in America. Can he be part of hers in Brigadoon?
No, they don’t write them like that anymore.
The song is from the Broadway production, the movie, and Seth MacFarlane’s Grammy-nominated album…
Now we move to the Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals category.
The arranger is Jorge Calandrelli. The vocalists are Clint Holmes Jane Monheit.
The son of an African-American jazz musician and a classically-trained British opera singer, Holmes briefly battled colon cancer. He’s now a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, encouraging people over age 50 to have annual colonoscopies.
Monheit is a Grammy winner. Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote she is blessed with “a voice of phenomenal beauty.”
This track is from an album that was two and a half years in the making.
Another arranger’s category, Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella.
And one of the nominees is an 82-year old artists who is no stranger to the Grammy Awards.
Trumpeter Herb Alpert this past year released his first Christmas album in five decades, accompanied by a 77-piece symphony and choir.
“It’s amazing,” said Alpert. “You think of an orchestra as made up of old-timers, but it’s not. It’s filled with young energy, whether the musicians are young or old. It wasn’t a bunch of old geezers playing in an orchestra. It’s energizing playing with good musicians.”
The nominated arranger is Chris Walden. The nominated track is an old classic.
I find the first :40 to be especially lovely.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
In the entertainment business, a “showstopper” is an act, song, or performer that wins applause so prolonged as to interrupt a performance.
We close with a showstopper.
Many years ago in much younger days, one of my many part time jobs had me ushering at what was then called The Performing Arts Center in downtown Milwaukee. One of the productions I had the pleasure to see was…
There was an unforgettable scene where Carol Channing walks down a huge staircase to a group of adoring gentlemen and belts out that famous “Wow Wow Wow, Fellas” in her unique style during the title song.
For Best Musical Theater Album, the nominee is “Hello, Dolly!” with Bette Midler, principal soloist; Steven Epstein, producer (Jerry Herman, composer & lyricist) from the New Broadway Cast Recording.