Michael Feinstein & Linda Eder: ‘Two for the Road’

There’s a bit of an initial jarring in the physicality of this duo paired with the variations in vocal styles, but it doesn’t last long as one is quickly caught up in the exquisite voices, song choices and high quality performances.

After touring the country with this show for several years, it seemed an appropriate time to bring Two for the Road to New York audiences at Mr. Feinstein’s namesake supper club.  It’s an interesting blend of his classic Great American Songbook genre, his dreamy crooner tones always a joy to hear, and Ms. Eder’s more contemporary-country sound. However, she and he have discovered a way to blend their shared duets, especially noteworthy on Michel Legrand/Alan & Marilyn Bergman’s “mature love song,” the lilting standard “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” where they each trade off harmony-melody lines, consummated with fine counterpoint.  With instructions to the audience not to sing along (I guess it’s a natural instinct for most), they’re similarly engaging with Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”

Ms. Eder seems to have happily reunited musically with ex-husband Frank Wildhorn as her latest album “Now” features several of his songs including the wild “Mad Hatter,” an up-tempo swing song, from the short-lived recent Broadway show “Wonderland,” in a sleek rendition featuring Charles Pillow on jazz flute.  She still has those high in the stratosphere notes with bell-tone quality in the tender, soulful ballad “Now,” her voice filled with expressive inflections.

You can always count on Michael Feinstein for his wry humor and some Jewish shtick to give New Yorkers that sense of feeling at home. He cleverly found the flip side of the 1960’s Dickie Thompson hit for Bill Hayley and the Comets’ original “Rock Around the Clock” entitled “Thirteen Women” – it’s about being the only guy left on earth (what fun) – and Feinstein delivers it with a sly twinkle in his eye. “There’s You,” for which he penned the music, with lyrics by the Bergmans, is a soulful, loving ballad of passion.

Then it was audience participation time! Just shout out tunes you’d like to hear and Mr. Feinstein accommodates, sitting down at the piano and creating a medley with “The Way You Look Tonight/Neverland/Isn’t It Romantic/I Won’t Send Roses.”  He’s one fabulous crowd pleaser! And he’s releasing his 27th CD come October.

Encore “Two For The Road” reinforced the warm camaraderie, mutual admiration and well blended harmonies of these two awesome performers.

The on-going smile of Music Director/Pianist Billy Jay Stein is joyful as he directs the band comprised of Zev Katz (bass), Clint DeGanon (drums), Allison Cornell (synthesizer/violin/back up vocals), Charles Pillow (saxophone/flute), Jon Owen (trumpet/flugelhorn), John Fedcock and Larry Farrel (trombones).

The duo continue at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency  212 339-4095 Tues. – Sat.  thru October 1st

 

 

 

 

Mabel Mercer

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