Will's New York Nite Life

Will's New York Nite Life

The 92nd St Y presents JAZZ IN JULY 2017

The 92nd St Y presents JAZZ IN JULY 2017

Posted Jul 16, 2017

(PS: the only bad news - Ottomanelli’s, on East 93rd St and Lexington Avenue, where I have dined before every 92Y concert for like forever, is now, alas, closed. Can anyone recommend some other presentable establishment with decent burgers in the 92Y area?)

View full post
Christine Andreas, Piaf - No Regrets,
Feinsteins / 54 Below

Christine Andreas, Piaf - No Regrets, Feinsteins / 54 Below

Posted Jul 12, 2017

One of the most prodigiously endowed vocal artists of the contemporary musical theater, Christine Andreas doesn’t so much recreate Piaf (apart from modulating her vibrato to roughly match that of The Little Sparrow) but re-animate her songbook with verve, energy, and a matchless voice. The narration guides us through the 47 years of Piaf’s time on earth, with all its brilliant highs and depressing lows, and puts the classic Piaf ballads (“La Vie en Rose”) and belters (“If You Love Me”), not to mention all those enumerable and irresistible minor key waltzes (“Sous le Ciel”) into the context of her life. No one has ever done a better job of recapturing the high drama of Piaf’s existence and balancing it against the considerable sense of humor in her music. Easily one of the best “tribute” shows I’ve ever seen.

View full post
The Montreal Jazz Festival 2017

The Montreal Jazz Festival 2017

Posted Jun 27, 2017

Although New York remains the epicenter of the jazz world, with the demise of the JVC Jazz Festival (can it really be almost ten years ago?), the number one festival in the Western Hemisphere is now, almost without any competition, The Montreal Jazz Festival, which for almost 40 years, has been held at the end of June and the beginning of July. The MJF is at once diverse and consistent, featuring nearly all the jazz headliners that there are (this is where Diana Krall really launched her career) as well as many sympathetic visitors from other musical realms, ie, if you like jazz, chances are that you’ll probably also like Bob Dylan (June 30) and King Crimson (July 2). But what makes this such a unique festival - unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in New York - is the incredible amount of free music presented al fresco - in the Complexe Desjardins, a huge Lincoln Center-like plaza that, during the afternoon, always seems to have at least four bands playing at once in each of its corner stages, all afternoon. While there are no shortage of American stars, this is also the festival that does more than any other (at least in this continent) to promote the idea of jazz as a world music. The headliners come out in the evening for the ticketed concerts, and they are always the main attraction, but it’s the bands that play outdoors - many of them local - during the daylight hours that give the festival its unique flavor. And yes, it’s well worth the trip for New Yorkers.

View full post
The New York Hot Jazz Festival presents US-France: A Centennial Voyage

The New York Hot Jazz Festival presents US-France: A Centennial Voyage

Posted Jun 27, 2017

The dual purpose of this free (non-ticketed) all-star extravaganza (a mini festival contained in one jam-packed five hour time slot) is to commemorate both the hundredth anniversary of the first jazz record and the century of collaboration between America and France that was cemented with the American entry into the first world war in 1917 - and which, in turn, led directly to the constant presence of jazz in France over the last hundred years. If you’re in the city this Saturday, this spectacular show is one you don’t want to miss, with four distinct bands, starting with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, plus the Avalon Jazz Band with special guest Stephane Wrembel, Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses from New Orleans, as well as an actual French Army military brass orchestra. Singers include the extraordinary Catherine Russell, the versatile Kat Edmonson and France’s own Tatiana Eva-Marie. And as special guests, the highly celebrated French Soprano Natalie Dessay plus dancers Nicolle Rochelle (recreating Josephine Baker, the African American entertainer who conquered Paris in the jazz age), and tap dance wiz DeWitte Fleming Jr. (of Smash and Boardwalk Empire fame).  Did we mention that it's free?

View full post
City Center Encores! presents ASSASSINS by Stephen Sondheim &  John Weidman

City Center Encores! presents ASSASSINS by Stephen Sondheim & John Weidman

Posted Jun 27, 2017

Stephen Sondheim wrote one show about cannibalism (Sweeney Todd) and another that climaxes in the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Pacific Overtures). Yet his most disturbing work is easily Assassins, a bone-chilling look into the souls of those who tried to kill a United States President. Set in a revue format, rather than a conventional narrative, this innovative work is only rarely staged - and it’s not hard to see why. This much anticipated production stars Shuler Hensley (who was so effective in the recent Encores productions of The Most Happy Fella and Fiorello!) and Steven Pasquale (well known from TV’s Rescue Me but also one of the best baritones on the contemporary Broadway scene). That John Weidman’s book and Mr. Sondheim’s words and music sometimes make the likes of John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald seem something like sympathetic only makes the work even more unsettling. Assassins is no less moving today than it was when first staged in 1990, and It’s hard to imagine a political era when this work isn’t both extremely relevant and unrelentingly controversial. Not exactly musical comedy, but absolutely riveting theater.

View full post
Melissa Errico, Broadway Firecracker at Birdland

Melissa Errico, Broadway Firecracker at Birdland

Posted Jun 20, 2017

Diana Krall, Turn Up the Quiet at the Beacon Theater

Diana Krall, Turn Up the Quiet at the Beacon Theater

Posted Jun 19, 2017

The Mabel Mercer Foundation presents "That's Entertainment" Dietz & Schwartz & Friends

The Mabel Mercer Foundation presents "That's Entertainment" Dietz & Schwartz & Friends

Posted Jun 13, 2017