Standard Time: Live in New York

Posted at 9:18 am by Lee Lessack

Given the enduring influence of hip-hop, the splintering of musical audiences, and the evident changes in the music industry and wider American society since “the day the music died,” it’s not surprising that many have pronounced the Great American Songbook as extinct, or at the very least, teetering on the brink of survival. In 2008, I disagreed with this bleak outlook, and put together a show full of “new standards” to prove the point that well-written songs with meaningful lyrics were still being written, just waiting to be interpreted by thoughtful, jazz-inspired vocalists. “Standard Time” explored the subject of love and relationships through the Great American Songbook of the New Millenium, featuring songs written within the previous 20 years or so. Now, 15 years later, listening back to these songs confirms to me that my hypothesis was correct – many of these songs have actually become standards of a new generation.

A Pre-Existing Condition

Posted at 8:38 am by Lee Lessack

Mix the truthfulness of Johnny Cash and the pure tones of Nat King Cole in a shaker and pour yourself a strong cocktail of Michael Winters, straight up. Winters has accomplished in only one year what most singers aspire to achieve in a decade. From karaoke crooner to major contender in the vast pool of professional recording artists, Winters’ story, culminating in this recording, should inspire anybody who has a creative dream.
In 1989 I was seated at a dinner party next to superstar Al Jarreau. Our host was playing a bootleg recording of the soon-to-be Voice of the Hour, Harry Connick, Jr. Jarreau, amused by our host’s delight in sharing this music, turned to me and said, “It’s so cool to find a new sound.” I agree. Now you have the opportunity to enjoy that experience, because Michael Winters is that new sound.

Call Me Old Fashioned • The Broadway Standard

Posted at 10:49 am by Lee Lessack

In ”Call Me Old Fashioned: The Broadway Standard,” Max unabashedly embraces his love for the golden age of Broadway and the American Songbook. Inspired by his love for an era long past, this Tony nominated leading man is joined by Grammy winning composer and famed musical director, Billy Stritch, breathing new life into classic songs we’ve loved for decades.

Max von Essen recently finished his run in the Broadway production of Anastasia as Gleb Vaganov and is currently touring the United States as Marvin in Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of Falsettos. He is perhaps best known to Broadway audiences as Henri Baurel in the Award winning production of ”An American in Paris”, a role which earned him nominations for the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Grammy Awards. Other Broadway credits include Evita, the revivals of Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar, Dance of the Vampires, and the closing company of the original Les Misérables. Additional New York credits include Yours Unfaithfully for the Mint Theater, Death Takes a Holiday for the Roundabout Theater Company, The Jerry Springer Opera at Carnegie Hall, Hello Again (Drama League nomination) for The Transport Group, Finian’s Rainbow for the Irish Repertory Theater and many others. Tours include Xanadu, Chicago and West Side Story.

Max’s concert work has brought him all across the country and Canada, including The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and a recent sold-out solo run at the famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. Recordings include An American in Paris, Evita, Death Takes a Holiday, Finian’s Rainbow, Love Songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber, and Broadway by the Year: 1928. @maxizpad.


Posted at 10:39 am by Lee Lessack

Amanda McBroom is the singer-songwriter known throughout the world for “The Rose,” a worldwide hit recorded by Bette Midler for the film of the same name. Amanda has been called “an urban poet who writes like an angel and has a voice to match.”

It was Amanda’s own performances of “The Rose” on the Golden Globes (the song won Best Original Song-Motion Picture), the Grammys and The Tonight Show that launched her own international concert career. Amanda’s songs have been recorded by LeAnn Rimes, Barry Manilow, Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, Anne Murray, Betty Buckley, Harry Belafonte, and Baby Dinosaurs in The Land Before Time animated film series. Longtime fans still revere Amanda’s many guest starring roles on television in everything from Star Trek: The Next Generation to her most recent appearance at the Kennedy Center in the NBC special, From The Heart.

The recently released CD, Voices, guided by acclaimed Nashville producer, Fred Mollin (Lyle Lovett, Alison Krause, Jimmy Webb, Vince Gill), is her first re-cutting of “The Rose” since 1980, and features country legend Vince Gill. The CD also includes the Tom Paxton classic, “The Last Thing on my Mind,” one of Johnny Mathis’ biggest hits, “12th of Never,” and ten new songs by Amanda McBroom and her favorite collaborators. Let your listening audience be one of the first to experience the CD, Voices, and “The Rose” with special guest Vince Gill.

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