There were many places around the world where the music of The Great American Songbook was being performed last night, but none more significant than the concert celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Dick Robinson’s Legends Radio 100.3FM, the most successful privately owned radio station in the United States.
Dick Robinson, who is also the founder of The Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook wanted something special to celebrate Legends Radio’s 5th Anniversary. A jam packed Essey Campus Theatre was ground zero for some of the best music on the planet at this very special event.
Mike Renzi, one of the most respected and gifted musicians of our generation was presented with the Society’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Renzi, a true virtuoso, who possesses the technique and tonal command of a great classical pianist is one of the finest creators of harmonic and melodic jazz notes on the keyboard. He has been the arranger and accompanist for many of the most important American Songbook vocalists during his distinguished career. Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga and Jack Jones have all been the recipients of Mike Renzi accompaniments. The Legends audience got to hear the maestro and his quartet as he played an Ellington and Gershwin medley and a spectacular performance of Jimmy Webb’s McArthur Park. Dom Taglialatella, the newest member of the Society’s Honorary Board and his wife Sally presented Mike with the award.
Nicolas King, one of the most skilled and respected of the currently performing super vocalists received the Society’s 2019 Legend Award which was presented by event Chairpersons Jill and Randy Smalley. Nicholas and Mike collaborate on many musical projects. The audience was treated to the extraordinary voice and phrasing of Nicholas backed by the sounds of the Mike Renzi Quartet. As they say…‘“you had to hear it to believe it”.
17-year-old Chris Santiago, who has been under the mentorship of Jill and Rich Switzer (Society Honorary Board Members, longtime musician-performers, and hosts of The Morning Lounge with Jill and Rich on Legends Radio) presented Chris with the Young Artist of the Year Award. He sang a duet with Nicholas King accompanied by Mike Renzi. Kai Alivia, a Young Artist alum started the evening off with a song for America.
The music of The Great American Songbook was heard all over the planet last night but this Legends Radio Concert probably was one of the best to hear the music at.
(Complete photos of this event can be seen on BROADWAYWORLD.COM)