I had the privilege of seeing Nick Ziobro in his debut at Birdland this week. What a great show — my only complaint is that it didn’t last longer — 90 minutes wasn’t nearly enough.
We’ve been seeing Nick Ziobro singing around New York for two years now – it was in 2012 that he won Great American Songbook High School Vocal Academy and Competition and first began making cameo appearances at Feinstein’s at the Regency, and went on tour with Michael Feinstein. Last fall, he made his debut at Rose Hall as part of the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Annual Cabaret Convention, and now, at the ripe old age of 17, he has both recorded his first album – aptly titled A Lot of Livin’ to Do – and made his “solo” debut at Birdland, a big time New York nightclub.
For the whole of his career, his mentor has been that sage of the songbook, Michael Feinstein, who serves as executive producer of Nick’s album and also appeared as a special guest at Birdland. “It’s a joy to present the formidable talent of Nick Ziobro,” says Michael. “He has charisma, freshness and charm, plus skill, taste and musical intelligence. In addition, Nick possesses an amazing maturity beyond his young years. I’m impressed with the way he has taken these timeless songs and made them his own, and that is no small feat! When he toured with me last summer, the audiences were clearly as taken with him as I was. Nick is a stellar vocalist and superb artist. It’s evident that we’re going to hear much more from him in the coming years.”
The astonishing thing about seeing Nick live in performance is that for the first three or four songs, one is incredibly impressed that a teenager can perform with so much depth, on a musical, a technical, and an emotional level. But by the time you’re ten minutes into one of his shows, you’ve completely forgotten that you’re seeing a 17-year-old – he wins you over so thoroughly as a performer that soon it could matter less how old or young he is.
As Will Friedwald wrote in The Wall Street Journal, many young singers, “can eke out an imitation of the swinging and slick side of Sinatra or Bobby Darin, but Mr. Ziobro is the extremely rare youngster who croons not only with an understanding of the lyrics but of the emotions behind them. Furthermore, his new debut album, A Lot of Livin’ to Do, produced by mentor Michael Feinstein (who join Mr. Ziobro at Birdland) and expertly arranged by Tedd Firth, shows a lesson learned from Tony Bennett – that there’s nothing wrong with taking a song title literally.”
I have a feeling that years from now I’ll be bragging to people that I heard Nick sing at his first concert and even had the chance to chat with him, his mom and aunt!
Tommy Tune had a brilliant run at Café Carlyle with More Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales. I had the privilege of seeing his special performance and boy did he not disappoint! Tommy tapped his way into the hearts of the audience with a serious of exuberant, intricate, and exquisitely smooth steps despite the supper club’s notoriously low ceilings!
Tommy Tune is a master performer. The Tony Award winner sings, acts, dances, directs, choreographs, and produces. On top of it all, he’s a great friend. He was there to lend me his hand and help calm my nerves at my press event for The Persian Room Presents!
With much pomp and circumstance, the Anna Wintour Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors this week. The inaugural exhibit is dedicated to Charles James, a legendary British designer who did the bulk of his work in New York City. He is best known for his dramatic, structural ball gowns and unique tailoring methods that still influence fashion and garment construction today. What is most interesting is that the exhibit not only features many of his beautiful gowns, but that is also focuses on his design process. Until now, James has so rarely received credit for his accolades in fashion, and I personally cannot wait to drop by the Met to see his work.
The exhibit is open to the public starting today, May 8th, and will run through August 10th. For more information on the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit, click here.
The Appel Room at Lincoln Center is one of New York’s premier locations for live music. The venue boasts breathtaking views of views of Central Park and Columbus Circle and features American singers, songwriters, and composers in an intimate concert format. A few weeks ago, I was privileged enough to see the performance of the multi-award winning cabaret singer Maude Maggart, jazz rhythm guitarist and chord soloist Marty Gorsz and the Grammy Award winner Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. The best part is that this brilliant concert series is all for a good cause!
Established in 2004 by Barbara and Harry E. Gould Jr., the concert series was founded in memory of their daughter. The Katharine Elizabeth Gould Foundation was created to enrich the cultural programs at Colgate University through concerts and other performances by talented musicians focusing on jazz and “The Great American Songbook.”
The concert series is going on now through June 12th, 2014. For more information and ticket sales, please visit http://americansongbook.org.
Steve Tyrell is by far my favorite Texan and such a talented composer and producer. He’s reinvented and re-popularized timeless pop standards including Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones and many Disney classics. Whenever he’s in New York, I just have to stop by Café Carlyle to see him perform. The other day he dedicated a special song to me and gave me a shout-out on stage. What a sweetheart!
Café Carlyle is the perfect setting for quintessential New York City classic cabaret. Check out their schedule of upcoming events here.
It was such a beautiful, sunny day on a recent visit to the notorious Playboy Mansion. I had a tour of the impeccable grounds with none other than Keith Hefner himself. Keith is an accomplished American singer, songwriter, composer, actor, and the younger brother to the infamous Hugh Hefner. I got to sit and chat with Keith about the Playboy Clubs. Stay tuned!
I had such a great time at a fundraiser for Senior Star Power with Elton Bayliss and Barbara Van Orden, or BVO as she’s affectionately called. They’re a great organization that showcases the talent of senior performers and encourages them to continue being creative and never stop entertaining. This group includes some fabulous senior Hollywood stars, and the best part is that their mission is to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of seniors everywhere through the arts. Learn more about this talented group here.