Feinstein takes classic tunes to Hawaii island

Nov. 29, 2013 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Michael Feinstein's latest album features the work of Andre Previn. --Courtesy photo

Michael Feinstein’s latest album features the work of Andre Previn. (Courtesy photo)

BY JOHN BERGER / jberger@staradvertiser.com

Michael Feinstein, who’s earned a large and loyal following for his commitment to the music of “the Great American Songbook,” plays a one-nighter at the Hilton Waikoloa Village next week. That’s the only show that Feinstein will play in Hawaii.

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN

Where: Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hawaii island
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6
Cost: $185 dinner and dance, admission at 6 p.m.; $50 dance only, admission at 9 p.m.
Info: kahilutheatre.org

It’s big news for those who, like Feinstein, admire American pop music of the 1920s through early 1950s, and songs written in that style during the rock era.

With his current album, “Change of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn,” recorded with the composer-conductor-pianist and released in April, Feinstein is spotlighting pop songs that could become standards once again.

“I love doing the great standards by Gershwin and Ellington and Porter and such, but to discover a body of work like Andre Previn’s, which is a whole great cache of songs that are largely unknown, gives me the desire to help propagate them,” he said, “because unless somebody sings any song, it is lost.”

“I’ve always loved coming to Hawaii,” he said, calling from his New York residence on Nov. 22. “My father used to do a lot of work there.

“I’ve only performed in Hawaii twice before, once with the symphony and once doing a solo engagement, so this will be fun to do a show with a five-piece jazz group.”

It’s “a configuration that gives me a lot of leeway,” he said. “I can do something solo at the piano, I can stand and work with the jazz guys and also do spontaneous things depending on the audience and what it feels like at that moment.”

“I often work with a big band or a symphony where I don’t have as much leeway or freedom, so it’s fun to be able to have this flexibility.

“The theme of the evening is ‘The Great Gatsby,’ so I’m going with the F. Scott Fitzgerald book — not the Baz Luhrmann film. I’ll certainly be doing some music of that era, and that includes many of the works of the greats whose work I regularly perform.

“I’ll also be doing some extemporaneous things depending on what the audience wants to hear, because my shows are always very interactive, anecdotal and filled with fun little nuggets about the material.”

The show is a benefit for the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. Proceeds will help fund community arts education and artistic programs. The night is billed as the Inaugural Theatre Masquerade, and masks are required.

He will be enjoying a few days of downtime here before returning to New York for an engagement at Birdland later in December.

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