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Steve Ross, Jerry Dixon And More Star On Chip Deffaa's New Cd 'Irving Berlin: Sweet And Hot'

The official release will be in two weeks, but copies may be pre-ordered now.

Steve Ross, Jerry Dixon And More Star On Chip Deffaa's New Cd 'Irving Berlin: Sweet And Hot'

ASCAP Award-winning writer/producer Chip Deffaa's new CD, "Irving Berlin: Sweet and Hot"--being released January 4th--features 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'), Alex Dreier ("Finding Neverland"), Charlie Franklin ("The Book of Mormon"), Giuseppe Bausilio ("Hamilton"), Matthew Nardozzi ("Dracula"), Jon Peterson ("Cabaret"), and others. The album, an outgrowth of shows that Deffaa has presented at the venerable 13th Street Theater (under the direction of Joe Battista), features 26 rare--and, in some cases, never-before-recorded--songs by Berlin.

The album--available from Amazon, iTunes, Footlight Records etc. as either a physical CD or a digital download--may be pre-ordered here:

Widely considered the foremost living authority on Berlin's music, Deffaa has written several published shows about Berlin, and 10 of the 30 albums that he's produced are devoted to Berlin's music.

"Berlin's the most successful single songwriter in history," Deffaa notes. "In each of the Berlin albums I try to mix some old favorites we've gotten requests for with some 'unknown' numbers that have never been recorded. Some of my favorite performances on this album are of rarities 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 seasoned song-and-dance men Jon Peterson and Michael Townsend Wright; and 'Daddy Comes Home,' put over by one of the best 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'--performs Berlin waltzes, aching with longing, as only he can. He's a master interpreter of lyrics. Larry Woodard--who's entertained at the White House and has performed with everyone from Horowitz to Kathleen Battle--offers 'Harlem on My Mind,' which for decades has been one of his signature numbers."

Deffaa stressed he's just as proud of the young, up-and-coming singers on the album as he is of the seasoned pros.

"I love Analise Scarpaci's warm, soprano voice. She's young, but she's one of those artists--like Broadway's Donna Vivino--where all of the potential was obvious from the very first time I saw and heard her as a kid. She's already been cast in three Broadway shows; I believe in her. Jeremy Lanuti first impressed me as a kid in musicals at the Westchester Broadway Theater. He then did the national tour of 'Sound of Music' and TV shows, like 'Law and Order: SVU.' He sings with such naturalness--and always comes to the recording studio prepared, on time, and with a great attitude--he's a joy to work with. Alec Deland, Keith Anderson, Jed Peterson, Timothy Thompson, Julia Franklin, Emily Bordonaro, Michael Kasper, are back once again--and they've never sounded better.

"Analia Heredia and Tyqaun Malik White impressed with their skills as both singers and vocal arrangers. I love what they've done here. Tyler Johnson-Campion makes his recording debut on this album; I hope it's the first recording of many for him." The senior-most artist on the album, playwright/poet/educator Okey Chenoweth, 90, offers a bit of spoken commentary on the album. "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, That means a lot to me."

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."

Richard Danley serves as musical directorr on the album. Slau Halatyn is the recording engineer. Frank Avellino did graphic design. Steve Garrin and Tyler DuBoys share production credits. The official release will be in two weeks, but copies may be pre-ordered now.

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