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My View: Miracle on 44th Street – Bucky Pizzarelli Returns To Birdland!

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The notes, the sounds, that famous smile, were all gloriously and heroically present as Gianni Valenti announced “Bucky’s Back” to a standing room only (and standing) Birdland audience last night. It was akin to seeing a ball player like Mickey Mantle, getting on in his years, return after a possible career ending injury, come back –  and then hit a home run. The crowd cheered and teared for Bucky Pizzarelli at this triumphant evening. He wowed everyone with his undiminished virtuosity, musicianship and personality, in this, his 90th year. Bucky’s back, and his music will live forever.
Bucky was joined on stage by legendary radio personality Doug McIntyre, Martin Pizzarelli, bass, Ed Laub, guitar/vocals, Ken Peplowski, clarinet/comedy, Konrad Paszkudzki, piano, Dag Markhus, drums, and icon Barbara Carroll, vocals & piano.

(For another article by Stephen & complete photos of this event go to Broadwayworld.com)

Bucky Pizzarelli

Bucky Pizzarelli

Bucky Pizzarelli & Barbara Carroll

Bucky Pizzarelli & Barbara Carroll

Ed Laub & Bucky Pizzarelli

Ed Laub & Bucky Pizzarelli

Martin Pizzarelli

Martin Pizzarelli

Bucky Pizzarelli & Jim Caruso

Bucky Pizzarelli & Jim Caruso

Bill Boggs & Gus Rosendale

Bill Boggs & Gus Rosendale

Bucky Pizzarelli & Doug Mcintyre

Bucky Pizzarelli & Doug Mcintyre

Bucky Pizzarelli & Eda Sorokoff

Bucky Pizzarelli & Eda Sorokoff

Ken Peplowski, Gianni Valenti, Bucky Pizzarelli

Ken Peplowski, Gianni Valenti, Bucky Pizzarelli

Jamie deRoy, Gus Rosendale, Eda Sorokoff

Jamie deRoy, Gus Rosendale, Eda Sorokoff

Bucky Pizzarelli & Bill Boggs

Bucky Pizzarelli & Bill Boggs

Maria Traversa, Jessica Molaskey, Maddie Pizzarelli

Maria Traversa, Jessica Molaskey, Maddie Pizzarelli

Jamie deRoy & Eda Sorokoff

Jamie deRoy & Eda Sorokoff

 

Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on Broadwayworld.com, T2Conline.com and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is also an Honorary Board Member of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook. Stephen Sorokoff@gmail.com

Columns

My View: Another Chapter Added To The Great American Songbook by The Jazz Ensemble at The King’s Academy

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A first-class experience. That is the epitome of The King’s Academy (TKA) Jazz Ensemble’s Night of Jazz. From walking the red carpet into the beautiful Page Family Center for Performing Arts to the electrifying buzz in the air from the sold-out audience, everyone knew they were in store for a special evening.

The sound, the look, and the stage presence of the TKA Jazz Ensemble is undeniable as they carry themselves with style, grace, and sophistication as ambassadors of the Great American Songbook. Director of Instrumental Arts Wes Lowe opened the night speaking about the transformative teaching and training happening at TKA and how concerts like this go a long way in creating innovative experiences for the students. This concert was proof that there is something transformative at TKA that sets it apart from the rest.

The night began with the impressive sounds of Julia Drahos as she dazzled the audience with a powerful trumpet solo followed by a remarkable drum solo by Ashton Horne on the opening number “Tiger of San Pedro.” Senior vocalist and Young Artist Award Winner (from The Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook) Maddie Begin took the audience on a musical journey with stunning renditions of “Feeling Good” and “But the World Goes Round.” The way she flawlessly sung these difficult numbers goes to show that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Junior vocalist Ella Garcia sung a beautiful cover of the Etta James classic, “At Last.” Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, another Julia, trombonist Julia Basile, completely owned the stage with precision, presence, and power with her rendition of the Latin standard Black Orpheus. Hadiya Stewart, a bassist extraordinaire and another Young Artist Award Winner, had everyone grooving to the sounds of “Ziggy Strut,” a newly commissioned piece written specifically for her by TKA Composer-In-Residence, Mark Taylor.

This Night of Jazz concert continued to crescendo to the point that many in attendance had been waiting for. Sometimes a beautiful voice that is delivered with authenticity and experience is all you need. In the case of Nashville based Wendy Moten, things went well beyond expectation when she added her talent to the teaching at The King’s Academy as their Artist-In-Residence. Wendy Moten captivated the audience from the moment she stepped on the stage to the Stevie Wonder classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Whether it has her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I have Nothing,” a gospel hymn like “How Great Thou Art,” or an Aretha Franklin classic “Ain’t No Way,” Moten’s voice that night was a bright and transcendent light that gave all that listened hope to hold on to through those songs.

Wendy not only has massive vocal chops, but a heart for music and those young people who will become the future. That was on full display as she dueted the Natalie Cole classic “This Will Be an Everlasting Love” with Maddie Begin and dueted “Sir Duke” with TKA Jazz Alumnus, Mikayla Smith. The soulful and moving voice of Wendy Moten along with the first-rate players of TKA Jazz Ensemble made this year’s Night of Jazz a night to remember. The combination of this band with this balladeer made for a musical moment in time no one wanted to end.

Many in attendance for this sold-out show were there as fans from Wendy’s appearance on NBC’s The Voice in 2021. Many were also aware of Wendy’s collaborations with fellow luminaries like Julio Iglesias, Michael McDonald, Kirk Whalum, Vince Gill, and Blake Shelton, just to name a few. But her collaboration that night with the students of The King’s Academy Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Wes Lowe was both a sight and sound to behold. This year’s Night of Jazz was more than just a concert. It felt like a chapter had been gracefully added to the Great American Songbook.

HTE KING’S ACADEMY JAZZ ENSEMBLE

WES LOWE

WENDY MOTEN & MADDIE BEGIN

WENDY MOTEN & MIKAYLA SMITH

WENDY MOTEN & JULIA BASILE

MADDIE BEGIN

HADIYA STEWAR

ASHTON HORNE

WENDY MOTEN & MICKEY SMITH

WENDY MOTEN & MICKEY SMITH

ELLA GARCIA

ELLA GARCIA

WENDY MOTEN & MIKAYLA SMITH

SAXOPHONES

TRUMPETS

WENDY MOTEN

SAXOPHONES

WENDY MOTEN & MADDIE BEGIN

WES LOWE & THE JAZZ ENSEMBLE

 

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Cabaret

My View: Dick Robinson’s Birthday Continues at 54 Below with Marilyn Maye

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Marilyn Maye (96) and Dick Robinson (86), a decade apart in age… both have a youthful exuberance for the music and performance of The Great American Songbook. The Songbook is played on Robinson’s Legends Radio stations worldwide ‘round the clock’ and Marilyn is singing it around the country in nightclubs and concert halls.

The “old jock”, as Dick is affectionately referred to may not be able to do that Marilyn Maye kick when she sings “IT’S TODAY” but he sure was swinging along with the rest of us last night at 54 Below. Dick was celebrating his 86th birthday while watching Marvelous 96 year old Marilyn celebrate her Birthday Month with another phenomenal show.

MARILYN MAYE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DICK ROBINSON

DICK ROBINSON & SALLY ROBINSON

DICK & SALLY ROBINSON, MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

TEDD FIRTH & MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

JIMMY, MISSY,JILL ROBINSON & ROB RUSSELL

DICK & SALLY ROBINSON

JILL ROBINSON, MISSY ROBINSON, EDA SOROKOFF

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Cabaret

My View: Dick Robinson & Family Celebrate at Cafe Carlyle With Peter Cincotti

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Cafe Carlyle, a preeminent location in the world of Cabaret was visited by a preeminent figure in the world of radio broadcasting last night.  Dick Robinson, founder of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook (SPGAS) and Legends Radio (WLML) was in the house for a performance by Peter Cincotti, who is in the midst of a residency in the historic Woody Allen Monday spot.

Bobby Short began his residency at Cafe Carlyle in 1968, Woody Allen in 1997, and Steve Tyrell in 2005.  Now it’s   Peter Cincotti in the legendary hotel exhibiting the exciting pianistic and vocal style (with his killer band) that have made Cincotti a world famous songwriter and entertainer….. and Dick Robinson was there to enjoy the show with family and friends celebrating “the old jocks” birthday!

Singer, Pianist, Composer, Cincotti was recently awarded SPGAS’s “Legend Award” at their annual Gala held at The Kravis Center For The Performing Arts.

DICK ROBINSON & SALLY ROBINSON

PETER CINCOTTI

Jimmy Robinson, Jill Robinson, Eda Sorokoff, Stephen Sorokoff, Dick Robinson, Sally Robinson, Missy Robinson

ROB RUSSELL, STEPHEN SOROKOFF, PETER CINCOTTI, EDA SOROKOFF, DICK ROBINSON, SALLY ROBINSON, MISSY ROBINSON, JILL ROBINSON, JIMMY ROBINSON

PETER CINCOTTI

PETER CINCOTTI

PETER CINCOTTI

PETER CINCOTTI

CAFE CARLYLE

CAFE CARLYLE

PETER CINCOTTI, SCOTT KREITZER, JOE NERO, TONY GLAUSI, COLE DAVIS

STEPHEN SOROKOFF, EDA SOROKOFF, MISSY ROBINSON, JILL ROBINSON, ROB RUSSELL, JIMMY ROBINSON, DICK ROBINSON, SALLY ROBINSON

MISSY ROBINSON & JILL ROBINSON

MISSY ROBINSON & EDA SOROKOFF

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Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: The Outsiders

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These boys are taking Broadway by storm Jason Schmidt, Sky Lakota-Lynch, and Brody Grant. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967, the hardened hearts and aching souls of Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their chosen family of “outsiders” are in a fight for survival and a quest for purpose in a world that may never accept them. A story of the bonds that brothers share and the hopes we all hold on to, this gripping new musical reinvigorates the timeless tale of “haves and have nots”, of protecting what’s yours and fighting for what could be.

The Outsiders opened on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.

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Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Ali Louis Bourzgui in Tommy

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Ali Louis Bourzgui is a Moroccan American, actor, singer, musician who is rocking New York in Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend’s revival of The Who’s Tommy as the “Pinball Wizard himself….Tommy.

He received rave reviews in Chicago and is doing the same here on Broadway.

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