Tune in or DVR so you don’t miss the Shout Section Big Band and I invading Chicago’s WGN-TV Midday News! We’ll swing hard, show no mercy and take no prisoners!
THE WINDY CITY REALLY SHOULD BE CALLED “MUSIC CITY” because I’ve found that there’s arguably a more vibrant music scene in Chicago (especially jazz) than in many other cities you’d expect to be at the top of the list – including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nashville, Atlanta – and, yes, even New Orleans!
CASE IN POINT: ONE OF AMERICA’S GREAT SAX MEN resides and plays weekly at Chicago’s legendary Andy’s Jazz Club – and that’s Mike Smith. Together with the Jordan Baskin Trio, they provide Chicago jazz lovers and visitors with a hearty helping of truly tasty tunes.
A RECENT VISIT had Mike inviting me onstage to croon and swing a few with his stellar group. Well, he didn’t have to ask twice.
CLICK ON THE PHOTO for a very short snippet of our improvised live performance that night. Enjoy! And, if you find yourself in the Chicago area, be sure to drop in to Andy’s Jazz Club. If it happens to be on a Wednesday, you’re in for a special treat when Mike, Jordan and the gang hit the stage.
Well, not really – but, in the wonderful world of broadcasting, anything’s possible… especially when the iconic “Uncle Floyd” Vivino is at the microphone!
Floyd is a New Jersey cult figure and a world-wide show business icon from his long-running kid’s TV show (for adults), “The Uncle Floyd Show” to his being sung about in the legendary 2002 David Bowie song, “Slip Away.”
CLICK ON THE PHOTO to hear Floyd, on his popular radio show, presenting a tune from my album, “If Love Were All” (Kabockie Records KCD-1031 / KLP2-1031) and following it with a classic but seldom-heard tune from Thomas “Fats” Waller, “Florida Flo.”
So — technically, I guess I can say that I was “Fats” Waller’s opening act – at least on Floyd Vivino’s radio show, I was!
As a jazz vocalist, that’s what a really swingin’ big band is to me.
It’s like being backed up by a mighty jet engine – lifting us all off the ground together – and letting me sing like I’m dancing in the sky. There’s simply nothing like it.
IF YOU’RE IN THE CHICAGOLAND AREA (or can get there!)… don’t miss this! We’re gonna have a ball!
Coming up on September 13th, I’ll be singing with Ivan Akansiima, my old friend and “Uganda’s Gift to American Jazz” at the 3rd Annual South Haven Jazz Festival. We’ve got a great quartet lined up with Tom Lockwood on Bass and Josiah Denooyer on Drums.
Move over, Jack Albertson. (He played it on Broadway).
Start packin’, Walter Matthau. (He played it in the film).
Now, I’m about to take on the role of old time vaudeville comedian Willie Clark in what many consider Neil Simon’s greatest and funniest play, “The Sunshine Boys.”
Willie is one of those characters that’s such a perfect fit, it could’ve been written for me. Well, it is totally my kind of comedy and Simon’s brilliant dialogue is an absolute joy to bring to life.
But when the play was first presented on Broadway in 1972, I was far too young to play Willie. Two years later, it was made into a feature film and, of course, I still wasn’t very much older.
Well, let’s just say that I’m the perfect age to play Willie. I’m old enough to be believable in the role but still young enough to remember my lines!
I do hope you’ll join me and a wonderful cast for some great fun.
Don’t miss out. Two weekends only!
Be sure to get your reserved seating tickets now – and then get ready to wear out your funny bone!
The sadness of watching the devastation from Hurricane Harvey on the news was softened somewhat by seeing Good Samaritans come forward to help rescue friends, neighbors and absolute strangers – along with their beloved pets. That’s Texas for you. Nowhere is that inspirational spirit more evident than in Beaumont and Port Arthur. I know it first-hand.
It was just over 30 years ago that I spent some time there on location for a film with longtime friend Paul Sorvino, Abe Vigoda, Lorne Greene, Ina Balin, June Wilkinson, John Moskoff and many others.
I still have such fond memories of the warm hospitality and gracious welcome we received from the good folks of Beaumont while we lived, worked and played there for several weeks.
Ironically, as we were heading back to Los Angeles after weeks in Beaumont, Continue reading “Happier Days in Beaumont, Texas”
Fondly Remembering HARRY “THE HIPSTER” GIBSON…
… On His 102nd Birthday.
Frantic and eccentric … Rockin’ and Rollin’ twenty years before Elvis, Harry was a true master of boogie woogie piano — and every other musical style, too!
BILL DANA WAS AN ENORMOUS COMEDY TALENT – BOTH ON AND OFF CAMERA – FOR OVER A HALF CENTURY. HE WAS MY 1st “ESCORT” TO THE COMEDY STAGE.