Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Inspired by the title of an Indigo Girls song, the duets show played an extended run at Feinstein's at the Regency in June 2009. Presented at Feinstein's at the Regency, songs included in The Power of Two are "I'm Nothing Without You," "I Have Dreamed," "We Kiss in a Shadow," "The Time Has Come," "So In Love," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "Old Devil Moon" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." Cheyenne Jackson is an award winning stage and film actor. A five-time Grammy nominee, Michael Feinstein is often credited with reinvigorating interest in the American popular song.
A five-time Grammy nominee, Michael Feinstein is often credited with reinvigorating interest in the American popular song. The crooner has performed in concert halls around the world and on Broadway and now co-owns his own nightclub, Feinstein's at Loews Regency. His numerous solo recordings include "The Sinatra Project," "Michael and George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin," "Big City Rhythms" "Romance On Film, Romance On Broadway," "Michael Feinstein with The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra," "Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb" and "Hopeless Romantics."
JazzTimes (p.74) - "[I]t is a superbly constructed showcase, striking just the right balance of casual playfulness and bespoke musicianship."
Personnel: Michael Feinstein (piano); Bob Mann (guitar); David Andrew Mann (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Tony Kadleck (trumpet, flugelhorn); John Oddo (piano); David Finck (acoustic bass, electric bass); Dave Ratajczak (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Nola Recording Studio.
Photographer: Scott Landis.
Arranger: John Oddo.
Nightclub singer Michael Feinstein and Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu, All Shook Up) look a little like a poster for Men in Black on the cover of their duo album, The Power of Two, dressed in black suit coats and ties and white shirts (but without the shades). It's a striking image for Feinstein, who certainly is no stranger to suits, but doesn't tend to appear with the top button of his shirt unbuttoned and his tie loosened. On the contrary, whether it comes to sartorial effects or the studied nature of his recordings, he tends to be carefully groomed and highly deliberate. But the album cover signals that this is a slightly more casual version of Feinstein, and the music fulfills that indication. The two start with a rewritten version of "I'm Nothing Without You" from the Broadway musical City of Angels, one of six duets on the disc (which also contains four Feinstein solo performances and five Jackson solos). From the beginning, the two singers display a rapport, with Jackson, who has a more distinctive voice and a more natural performing style than Feinstein, helping his better-known partner loosen up and wail. Their version of "Me and My Shadow," which follows, is a copy of the one by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., from the early `60s, albeit with Feinstein's own club substituted for Sinatra's watering hole, Jilly's. Even without his partner, Feinstein seems unusually stimulated, notably in an impassioned performance of Cole Porter's "So in Love." Jackson, meanwhile, gives a preview of his next Broadway show, a revival of Finian's Rainbow, in his take on "Old Devil Moon" and scats his way through a jazzy arrangement of Duke Ellington's "I'm Checkin' Out -- Go'om Bye." Feinstein finds himself handling material quite unlike what he usually does, notably when he joins Jackson on Indigo Girls' "The Power of Two" and the Elvis Presley standard "If I Can Dream." There is a gay context to the proceedings that becomes explicit when they sing the love duet from The King and I, "We Kiss in a Shadow," as well as in Jackson's closing performance of the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me," a song written for a woman to sing about a man; Jackson doesn't change the pronouns. But that is only to say that this is an album full of feeling, which is not usually the case in Feinstein's highly considered recordings. Musically at least, Cheyenne Jackson is one of the best things that's ever happened to him. ~ William Ruhlmann
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