|CHRISTMAS AT BIRDLAND with STRITCH, CARUSO & BLACKHURST celebrate hit album with ONLINE CONCERT, 12/18|
|Posted by: Official_Press_Release 08:02 pm EST 11/10/20|
CELEBRATES THE BILLBOARD "TOP 10" HOLIDAY ALBUM
" CHRISTMAS AT BIRDLAND"
FEATURING BILLY STRITCH , JIM CARUSO & KLEA BLACKHURST
WITH EXCLUSIVE ONLINE CONCERT
"A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS"
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18
MARILYN MAYE, DAVE KOZ AND LUKE HAWKINS JOIN THE CONCERT AS GUEST ARTISTS
THE ALBUM FEATURES A SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY DONNY OSMOND
CLUB44 RECORDS will celebrate the hit album Christmas at Birdland with a special online concert through Radio Free Birdland on Friday, December 18 at 7:00 PM. Christmas at Birdland, which was released in 2019, features vocalists Billy Stritch, Jim Caruso, and Klea Blackhurst, in addition to the stellar musicianship of Steve Doyle on bass, and drummer Daniel Glass on drums, and special guests Donny Osmond on vocals and Dave Koz on saxophone. The album - hailed as "a tasty confection of a disc, loaded with joy, wit, and plenty of sass" by New York Arts Review - debuted at #2 on the iTunes Jazz Chart and hit #7 on the Billboard Jazz Chart. Drawing on their individual strengths, the production team of Billy Stritch and Wayne Haun bring the best of New York and Nashville together in this landmark recording full of musicality and versatility, familiarity and fun. The album art was created by noted illustrator Tug Rice. Christmas at Birdland is distributed worldwide through Sony/Provident Distribution.
The 11th Annual "A Swinging Birdland Christmas," available this season as a pay-per-view concert from Radio Free Birdland in association with BroadwayWorld.com, will feature special guest appearances by tap dancer Luke Hawkins, saxophone superstar Dave Koz, and cabaret legend Marilyn Maye. The show was filmed with three cameras, state-of-the-art sound, and socially-distanced musicians. In the tradition of beloved seasonal specials, Blackhurst, Caruso and Stritch will perform swinging arrangements of selections from the album and new surprises. For tickets, please visit Events.BroadwayWorld.com.
Billy, Jim and Klea, who each bring unique talents to this unstoppable trio, have been busy with separate activities in addition to their fruitful collaboration. Billy, who hosts the popular online concert series "Billy's Place" on Thursday evenings, just released a solo album of the same name on Club44 Records. Jim hosts "Pajama Cast Party!," a quarantine-inspired riff on his famed weekly soiree at Birdland, on Monday nights. Klea has been displaying her singular singing style on a variety of online concerts, events and benefits.
Christmas at Birdland melds old and new to create a modern classic holiday album, borrowing from a dazzlingly creative, cross-generational array of sources. Highlights range from the eternal standards of Irving Berlin, Jule Styne and Harry Warren, and contemporary originals by the likes of Ann Hampton Callaway, to rarely-recorded songs by golden age writing talent like Cy Coleman, and the holiday theme from the popular Disney series "Phineas and Ferb."
The album begins its delightful surprises with the first track when special guest Donny Osmond sings with the trio on "It's the Holiday Season." Jim shares, "the concept for our original Birdland show was to give a sense of the great 60's and 70's Christmas TV specials we grew up loving. Klea grew up in Utah, obsessing over her neighbors, the Osmonds. Billy was fascinated by the tight harmonies they sang. And as an only child, I wanted nothing more than to be part of a family band! Donny's name came up at our first album meeting. I texted him, and within two minutes, received the one-word response, 'Yes!' With all he has going on in his life and career, he was incredibly generous to lend us his time and considerable talents."
Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist Dave Koz is featured on two tracks, "Silent Night/A Child is Born" with Klea, and "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" with Billy. "About 20 years ago, Jim and I met Dave and he became an instant friend," reveals Billy. "When we were putting the album together, we wondered if Dave would be gracious enough to contribute his talents to a couple of cuts. All we had to do was call him and he was there the next day! Working in the studio with him was so much fun and because I know him so well it was so easy to convey exactly the feeling I was going for. Having his incredible and soulful playing is such a beautiful asset to the finished product."
A show-stopping moment on the project is Klea's rendition of Cy Coleman's rarely-recorded treasure "He's Stuck in the Chimney Again." Billy Stritch writes, "one of the great advantages of moving to New York in the late 80s was the fact that I got to meet so many legendary composers like Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. The friendship that means the most to me is the one that I forged with the great Cy Coleman. We all know Cy was the writer of fabulous Broadway shows and many terrific hit songs, and the fact that he took me under his wing was a thrill and an honor. After Cy's untimely death, I went deeper into his catalog and was able to unearth some gems for a show that I put together. One of the songs is 'He's Stuck in the Chimney Again,' a delightful holiday song that he co-wrote with Floyd Huddleston. It appeals to the child in all of us with that humor and wonderful imagery, and we are thrilled to include it here."
Co-producer and Club44 Records co-owner Wayne Haun feels that they have achieved his vision with this project. "The concert version of the show has been a New York mainstay for over ten years now. As successful as the show has been, we're even more excited to capture that playful spirit and energy in the recording studio."
Club44 Records - based in the Music City of Nashville, Tennessee - is a new independent label which aims to highlight the Broadway, cabaret and jazz genres, preserve the American Songbook, and provide a home for artists who represent this timeless music. Following their premiere studio release, Christmas at Birdland, the label has presented Les Misérables Symphonic Highlights, arranged, orchestrated and conducted by David T. Clydesdale and Brian Eads; Love Notes, the new album from Tony Award and Golden Globe winner Linda Lavin; and Billy's Place from Grammy Award-winner Billy Stritch. Club44 Records also serves as the creative home of many other singers, instrumentalists and writers. All releases are distributed worldwide through Sony/Provident Distribution. www.club44records.com
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