A Fine Concert
Rufus, Sting, Lou Reed, and a celebration of David Lehman’s Nextbook Press book
“I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” is a 1932 pop standard by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. It was also the title of Wednesday night’s concert in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series—a night of music and commentary produced by the impresario Hal Willner and celebrating A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, David Lehman’s Nextbook Press book on the Jewish composers and lyricists who created much of the songbook.
Rufus Wainwright opened the show, in the Allen Room at Lincon Center, with its wall of windows overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park, with a soulful rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.” He was backed by a 14-piece band, playing sultry nightclub arrangements of a dozen pop standards behind not just Wainwright but also Shannon McNally, Jenni Muldaur, Van Dyke Parks, and Christine Olmann, who brought the house down belting a loungey arrangement of Arlen and Koehler’s “Stormy Weather” in a flowing pink ’60s dress and a towering bouffant of blonde hair.
But even bigger names played, too. Sting proved himself a master of the songbook, delivering plaintive, moving renditions of George and Ira Gershwin’s “Love Is Here to Stay” and, later, “”Someone to Watch Over Me.” And none other than Lou Reed showed up to close the show with a hard-rocking, guitar-and-drums-heavy take on Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “One For My Baby (and One More For the Road).”
All photos by Dese’Rae Stage:
Wainwright with David Lehman, author of the Nextbook Press book A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs.
Photos from “I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues?” Music and readings from A Fine Romance, at The Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street, New York City.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.