New York, New York
We came down to New York on the Acela yesterday, checked in at The Greenwich Hotel, and Maria went to see the grandchildren (we’re here for their second birthday party today) while I met long-time buddy Bill Howe for lunch at noon at the Four Seasons Restaurant.
We sat in the famous pool room—alone, for 45 minutes! When we finally left (after a wonderful Far Niente) at about 2:30, there were about 20 people dining. It was a Friday and a Jewish holiday, but nonetheless, things aren’t what they used to be!
I walked over to the Grand Havana room for a post-lunch Arturo Fuente and lychee martini, then met Maria at the Loews Regency’s Feinstein’s to see Michael Feinstein and Barbara Cook in one of the few intimate showrooms left.
And this was a glorious night. Ms. Cook, who is in her early eighties, is someone we were determined to see in person, as we have Elaine Stritch and the late Bobbie Short. She was in fine voice with immaculate phrasing. Mr. Feinstein ought to be given the keys to the Great American Songbook, since he chooses material with reverence and complete understanding of every nuance, never failing to acknowledge composer and lyricist. His ability to hold a note is mesmerizing, and we were sitting three feet away from the performers.
Inexplicably, at one point they chose to do a duet of “Shine On Harvest Moon” (which is from 1908) which I have never liked. They converted me in the first few bars and created an amazing rendition. Mr. Feinstein replaced the piano player (there is an excellent 5-man music backup) to sing “Without A Song,” reminding us that this iconic piece came from a play that closed within a few weeks.
You never know where you’re going to find excellence, but I can tell you you’ll find it for sure at Feinstein’s. If you get the chance, do not miss this glorious evening of music from two, true superstars.
(PS: Intimate clubs are always great. After the show, awaiting our bill, the guy behind us received a text and said excitedly to the woman with him, “It’s my agent! But which one!? New York or California?”)
© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.