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Chip Deffaa's New Album, 'Irving Berlin: Sweet And Hot' Is Out Now


The album features rare, and in some cases, never-before-recorded Berlin songs.

Chip Deffaa's New Album, 'Irving Berlin: Sweet And Hot' Is Out Now

ASCAP Award-winning writer/producer Chip Deffaa's new CD "Irving Berlin: Sweet and Hot" is out now.

The album, an outgrowth of shows Deffaa has presented at New York's 13th Street Theater, features rare, and in some cases, never-before-recorded Berlin songs performed by such Broadway and cabaret notables as Steve Ross ("Private Lives"), Jerry Dixon ("Once On this Island"), Seth Sikes ("The Band's Visit"), Analise Scarpaci ("Mrs. Doubtfire'), Matthew Nardozzi ("Inherit the Wind"), Alex Dreier ("Finding Neverland"), Charlie Franklin ("The Book of Mormon"), Giuseppe Bausilio ("Hamilton"), Jon Peterson ("Cabaret"), and many more.

The album is available from Amazon, iTunes, Footlight Records etc. as either a physical CD or a digital download here.

The foremost living authority on Berlin's music, Deffaa has written several published shows about Berlin, and produced 10 albums devoted to Berlin's music. "I'm proud that we've got so many terrific artists joining in this celebration of Berlin," Deffaa notes.

"The most successful single songwriter in history, Berlin was so extraordinarily prolific, his songs were often competing with one another. And he also cut many very good songs from the scores of Broadway or Hollywood musicals before the musicals were completed.

Some of my favorite performances on this album are of rare numbers that can be found nowhere else, like 'Send a Lot of Jazz Bands Over There'--an important rediscovery, sung with irresistible charm by Jerry Dixon; 'Learn to do the Strut,' performed with panache by two of the best modern-day vaudevillians, Jon Peterson and Michael Townsend Wright; and 'Daddy Comes Home,' put over with zest by one of the best all-around younger performers I've ever come across, Alex Dreier."

The performers on the album range in age from about 18 to 90. "I want to present a sampling of the talent out there. The album includes jazz artists--like Daryl Sherman and Molly Ryan--I've enjoyed for years. The peerless Steve Ross--whom the New York Times calls 'The Crown Prince of Cabaret'--interprets Berlin lyrics with exquisite care. Larry Woodard--who's entertained at the White House--offers 'Harlem on My Mind,' which for decades has been one of his signature numbers.

"But I'm no less proud of the young, up-and-coming singers on the album than I am of the seasoned pros. I love Analise Scarpaci's warm, soprano voice. She's young, but she's already been cast in three Broadway shows; I believe in her. I don't think anyone could put over better the rarity that I've given to her and dapper song-and-dance man Jonah Barricklo. They just sparkle! Sometimes I'll pair a rising younger singer, like Princeton's Alec Deland--who gets better each time I record him--with a seasoned pro like Jed Peterson--who's worked brilliantly with me for two decades--as a way of saying that the younger artist belongs in such distinguished company. Every artist on this CD--whether a big "name" like Seth Sikes, the hottest singer in the New York clubs today, or newcomers Analia Heredia and Tyqaun Malik White--belongs there. Jeremy Lanuti--who's done the national tour of 'Sound of Music' and TV shows, like 'Law and Order: SVU'--sings with such naturalness, I'm delighted to showcase him. He'll win new fans!"

The senior-most artist on the album, playwright/poet/educator Okey Chenoweth, 90, offers a bit of spoken commentary on the album, to set up a recording that features Deffaa himself.

"Okey first directed me on stage when I was just 14, and it's good to have that warm, wise voice of his helping to put Berlin's work in context, His participation means so much to me. He just telephoned me from sunny California to offer congratulations on the album, and that warms me through and through."

Some of the best-known songs on the albums were requests. "My late Dad requested 'Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Army'--which he said anyone who'd been in the service, as he had, could relate to. And he particularly appreciated the performers heard singing it here--Matthew Nardozzi and Michael Townsend Wright; he just felt they brought such a likeable, typical-American kind of feel to their work. My Dad would tell me they sounded to him like regular Joes--just as Berlin did, when Berlin used to sing this number."

Richard Danley serves as musical director on the album. Jessee D. Riehl is historical consultant. Slau Halatyn is the recording engineer. Frank Avellino did graphic design. Steve Garrin and Tyler DuBoys share production credits. Special thanks go to the 13th Street Theater, under the direction of Joe Battista, where Deffaa has been developing his ongoing Irving Berlin project.

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