NICOLE ZURAITIS at THE CELL THEATRE

Recently I had the opportunity to see and hear pianist/vocalist Nicole Zuraitis at both Birdland and 55 Bar. Nicole blends songwriting skills, an effervescent presence and dazzling vocals in a consummate package that has thrilled audiences across Manhattan and, most recently, around the world.

You can see and hear Nicole’s show, which will feature women songwriters from the 1920s to the present–I’ve heard it and it’s sensational–at The Cell on August 14th, 7:30pm as part of Charles R. Hale Productions’ series, “Thoroughly New York.”

You won’t want to miss this. For tix and additional info: https://tinyurl.com/ybrkrs4u  

THE WRITING IRISH OF NEW YORK IS NOW AVAILABLE

I’m proud to announce that the book “The Writing Irish of New York”, which includes an essay I wrote, is available for purchase in hardcover. The book, which was conceived and edited by Colin Broderick, is now available for pre-order (with a five dollar discount).  Spread the word!  You can click here to order now:  Click here for the link

They’ll be an official book launch in Manhattan in the near future. As soon as I have the details I’ll share them. I’ll release news on our official Manhattan book launch in the coming weeks. Thanks again for all your continued support.

In the ten years following the Great Famine Irish flooded into New York at an astonishing rate.  By 1860 one in every four New Yorkers was Irish, and by the 1920s Irish-American authors like Eugene O’Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald had transformed the American literary landscape and lay the foundation for a century that would put Irish writing at the forefront of American letters.

This series of essays by and about Irish-American writers traces that heritage from it’s humble origins through the twentieth century. Editor Colin Broderick provides background essays on Brendan Behan’s New York, Maeve Brennan’s heartbreaking decent into madness, Frank McCourt’s rise from school teacher to literary phenomenon, and 23 of today’s top Irish-American authors—including Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice and Dan Barry—provide personal accounts of how they found their voices in the Big Apple. Taken together, the stories provide a vivid portrait of a community of authors who continue to fight for Ireland’s place at the top of literary canon. 

There is a fine green thread that binds them all. These are The Writing Irish of New York.

The Writing Irish of New York includes original essays by:

Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice, Larry Kirwan, Kathleen Donohoe, Daniel James McCabe, Mike Farragher, Malachy McCourt, Don Creedon, Maura Mulligan, Kevin Holohan, Kevin Fortuna, Christopher John Campion, Dennis Driscoll, Billy Collins (poem), Honor Molloy, Colum McCann, John Kearns, Charles R. Hale, Dan Barry, Seamus Scanlon, Brain O’Sullivan, Mary Pat Kelly, and Colin Broderick.

And essays by Colin Broderick on:

Maeve Brennan, Frank McCourt, Eugene O’Neill, Jimmy Breslin, Frank O’Hara, J.P. Donleavy, John F. Kennedy Jr., Brendan Behan and Oscar Wilde.

MIHO HAZAMA AT THE CELL THEATRE, JULY 12, 2018, 8:00PM

Tokyo born composer Miho Hazama, one of New York’s most astounding young talents, will be performing with her signature ensemble “m_unit” at The Cell Theatre, July 12, 2018, 8:00pm. Lauded in Downbeat as one of “25 for the Future,” Miho is quickly establishing herself as a force of nature on the world’s stage. Her masterful understanding of harmony and orchestration combined with a who’s who of musicians results in riveting performances to packed adoring audiences at venues such as the Jazz Standard, Blue Note NYC and Tokyo, Dizzy’s Club Coca-cola, and the Jazz Gallery. 

For tickets to Miho’s performance, which are $20, click here: tinyurl.com/0712miho

Yuri Juarez and his Afroperuano band June 13

June 13, 2018 at the cell theatre

Tickets now on sale!

Yuri Juarez and his Afroperuano band are returning to The Cell this year after a sold-out performance as part of last year’s series “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song.” Yuri and his group are proof that the music of Peru is fast occupying a prominent part of the world stage. If you haven’t heard these musicians perform you are in for a great treat. Yuri and the members of his band are internationally acclaimed and their shows are nothing short of fabulous.

June 13, 2018, 7:30pm at The Cell in NYC

For tickets and additional information: tinyurl.com/yuri0613

Click here for the event link.

ARTISTRY & THE ARTIST:SEUNGHEE LEE. REVIEW by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

Artistry and the Artist by V. Nauheimer

Last night, Seunghee Lee opened Charles R. Hale’s 2018 series “Thoroughly New York.” She was an unequivocal success.  

Ms. Lee, a brilliant clarinetist, is a storyteller like Charles, who enhances story through musical performance.  Effectively handled, there is a synergy in which the narrative and the music become greater than the sum of their parts. What made this show different is that Ms. Lee was both the musician and the storyteller, engaging the audience with her humor, life experiences and carefully selected musical scores to punctuate each story. It made for a richly rewarding experience. 

Ms. Lee played her clarinet with ease and grace, but her performance went far beyond her immense musical skills. She shared an inspirational story of how she’d arrived at this time and place in her life and how she’d wrestled with her love for music and roles as a clarinetist, a mother and wife. At one point she described a moment in her life when in despair, she gave up her music, but turned it into a humorous moment by flashing a photo onto the screen of her clarinet, in her home, with a lampshade over it. Ms. Lee explained that even though she wasn’t actively using it at that point in her life she did not want to let it go. Clearly, the world is richer because Ms. Lee came back to her clarinet.

Ms. Lee opened her show with an Elgar piece that is very dear to her, Salut d’Amour Bravo, (Salute to Love) She explained how the piece was written for violin, but because of her love for the work, she became the first clarinetist to record it. It was a pattern that she would repeat often, which included producing a book containing sheet music for the clarinet called “Hidden Treasures.”

Ms. Lee also regaled us with tales of her love of golf even comparing it to music, noting that each discipline required,  “practice, practice, practice…” as well as finding a good teacher, having fun and developing a good rhythm and tempo. To punctuate the story, she played Gabriel Faure’s 1893 piece, Sicilienne, which she stated gave her a sense of freedom and wonder while she played golf.

As the evening progressed, it was clear that little held back Ms. Lee. When it came to performing and her love of her instrument…anything was possible. Nothing underscored that more than her two Puccini arias “O Mio Bambino Cara” from Gianna Schicchi and “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot. I’m an opera fan, but hearing these well known arias performed as clarinet solos was a richly rewarding experience. While Sunny performed, accompanied by pianist Evan Solomon, it would have been impossible not to hear Kathleen Battle or the great Pavarotti, whose signature song was Nessun Dorma, singing these arias.  Quite riveting. 

The most moving moment of the evening was Ms Lee’s tribute to her father, who was taken from her in a most unfortunate and untimely manner. To honor his life, which included introducing her to the clarinet, as well as instructing her, Ms. Lee performed her father’s favorite song, “Danny Boy.” The soul and emotion she put into the song was a magnificent tribute. The audience was on the edge of their seats, the emotion palpable.  

I’d never experienced a classically trained musician of Seunghee Lee’s talent, combine superior musicality and riveting storytelling. A novel concept, superbly crafted.  It was an exceptional evening and if this is a portent of things to come, I await the next performance in this series, “Thoroughly New York,” with great anticipation

Photos by Mitch Traphagen

CHARLES R. HALE PRESENTS: A MUSICAL HISTORY OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE

Clockwise from upper left, Yuri Juarez, Mala Waldron, Ashley Bell, Charles R.Hale, David S. Goldman, Clare Maloney, and Alicia Svigals

Charles R. Hale has developed a reputation as a storyteller who blends imagery and performance art to create uniquely New York experiences. His show, “Jazz and the City” was a sold out success at the American Irish Historical Society last fall and he’s returning with another show, “A Musical History of the Lower East Side.”  

This special concert will present songs reflecting the historically rich ethnicity of the New York City’s Lower East Side. You’ll hear an all-star cast perform Irish laments, Yiddish and Ladino music, operatic and Neopolitan songs, German lied, jazz and blues, all representative of the ethnic groups who have passed through the Lower East Side. The show will also include images and historical narration provided by Charles.

“A Musical History of the Lower East Side” premiered at Rockwood Music Hall in 2015 to a standing-room-only crowd and has been performed at Lehman College and BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

The performers include Charles R. Hale, (Narrator, Writer); Ashley Bell, (Opera Singer); David S. Goldman, (Vocalist, Guitarist, Music Director); Clare Maloney, (Vocalist); Yuri Juarez, (Guitarist, Composer) Alicia Svigals, (Violinist) and Mala Waldron, (Vocalist, Pianist).

The show takes place on June 12, 2018. Showtime is 7:00pm and will be followed by a wine reception. The American Irish Historical Society is located at 991 Fifth Avenue (Between 80th and 81st) For tix and additional information CLICK HERE

 

 

ARTISTRY & THE ARTIST: SEUNGHEE “SUNNY” LEE, WEDNESDAY at THE CELL

 

Seunghee Lee, “Sunny”

TICKETS FOR SEUNGHEE LEE ON MAY 16  CLICK HERE.

“Now here is a talent…  who has as warm, silvery, and woody a tone as anyone could imagine with fast and keen finger work to match… amazing expressive capabilities… positively lovely” – Review by Allmusic.com

Seunghee Lee is a multi-faceted musician, international recording artist, and musical entrepreneur, Seunghee (Sunny) brings a vivacious energy, an exquisite elegance and extraordinary precision to all her endeavors. Ms. Lee has been recognized by the Clarinet Magazine as “an uncompromising soloist, destined to be an upcoming contender of top stature”.

Sunny’s 2017-2018 season included a tour of northern Italy performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, visiting professorship at Yale School of Music, and a Sold-Out debut recital at Carnegie Hall. An advocate for exploring new ideas, embracing all musical genres, one of the greatest highlights was her collaboration with DEEPAK CHOPRA on his new album & book: HOME: Where Everyone is Welcome, a collection of thirty-four original poems and twelve songs inspired by a diverse group of immigrants.

Click here to listen to Sunny performing “Gabriel’s Oboe” with composer Andrea Morricone, who is also the composer of the “Love Theme” from Cinema Paradiso, which you can hear Sunny perform here.

Join us for, “Artistry & the Artist, a great night of music and storytelling.  TICKETS FOR SEUNGHEE LEE ON MAY 16  CLICK HERE.

“WOMEN WHO HAVE OVERCOME” at LEHMAN COLLEGE, MAY 10, 2018

Join Mala Waldron, Theresa Sareo, Connie Roberts and Charles R. Hale.    

On Thursday, May 10th, 12:30pm, Artists Without Walls, in conjunction with Lehman College’s City and Humanities Program, presents “Women Who Have Overcome,” a discussion with three women who, despite being presented with major obstacles at different points during their lives, have gone onto successful careers in the arts and education. 

Jazz pianist/vocalist Mala Waldron, poet Connie Roberts and singer/songwriter Theresa Sareo will be discussing their lives as well as sharing their talents with the audience. Charles R. Hale will moderate the event. Special thanks to Professor Joseph McElligott for sponsoring this program. 

The event will be held in the Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College. For directions to Lehman, click here

Photo montage by Mitch Traphagen. 

Theresa Sareo, Connie Roberts and Mala Waldron

BIGGER THAN LIFE….AFTER LIFE: JOHNNY HARTMAN, EVA CASSIDY AND ETTA JAMES

Bigger than life…after life.  

Johnny Hartman

A number of singers didn’t get the recognition they deserved in their lifetime for one reason or another. Johnny Hartman, the quintessential romantic balladeer, earned critical acclaim early in his career, but he wasn’t well known. He recorded a brilliant album with John Coltrane–“John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman”–in the mid-sixties, but it wasn’t until 1995, twelve years after his death that his reputation grew considerably. When the film “Bridges of Madison Country” was released in 1995, four of Hartman’s songs were featured. You might remember the scene in which Merryl Streep and Clint Eastwood danced in the kitchen.  They danced to Hartman singing “I See Your Face Before Me.”  Here it is…“I See Your Face Before Me.” 

Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy is another. Her recordings of a number of American Songbook classics are sublime. But Eva, who died of cancer in her thirties, received little recognition during her lifetime. Now, many of her recordings have become modern day standards. Here’s one of my favorites…Autumn Leaves. If you haven’t heard Eva sing this tune, you are in for a treat…beautifully sung with intense longing. 

 

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Etta James

And then there’s Etta James. A few of her songs were hits during her lifetime, including “At Last,” but she is only now getting the recognition she deserves. Listen and watch here  “I’d Rather Go Blind,” as Etta performs with Doctor John.  Etta was, in my opinion, an  underrated talent. No more. 

There’s a reason I feature Hartman, Cassidy’s “Autumn Leaves” and James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” in two of my shows, “Jazz in the City” and “Crossing Boroughs.”  They’re fabulous. 

 

 

 

GRATITUDE

Seven years ago I had very little contact with musicians, actors, writers…artists of all stripes. First I met author/historian Peter Quinn, then director/editor Martha Pinson and Professor Joe McElligott and from there I met one great artist after another. My life has been  immeasurably enriched by my acquaintance and collaborative work with each. I thank them all. 

The mosaic above, which was created by Mitch Traphagen, features fifty artists with whom I have collaborated…past, present and a number with whom I am working on a future project. 

If you hover your mouse over the page, a name will appear…click on the image, you’ll be taken to the website or featured work of each person…well, almost every person. 

Thank you all for adding so much to my life.