Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook Season 1
Seasaon One of this acclaimed PBS series featuring Michael Feinstein as the leader of an expedition through the glorious history of American popular song. Each of the three episodes is documentary-style road trip and cultural primer. Viewers follow him both on stage and back stage, hear him interpret great standards, listen in on personal stories about the songwriters and entertainers he’s known and worked with over three decades, and accompany him on his quest to find and preserve the treasures of classic American popular music. Rare archival audio and film footage combine to reveal the social and historical forces behind the music that helped shape the style, attitude, and self-image of America for more than a century. Filled with generous portions of live performance, this series offers both an intimate portrait of a unique entertainer, and a history of 20th Century pop culture.
SEASON ONE EPISODES:
Putting on the Tailfins
Focuses on the 1950s and ‘60s, when the Great American Songbook was in competition with new forms like rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm & blues. As Feinstein crisscrosses the country performing with big bands, symphony orchestras and jazz combos, viewers learn how iconic singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Rosemary Clooney kept the Songbook alive by reinventing pop standards of the 1930s and ‘40s.
Best Band in the Land
Examines how popular songs provided emotional solace and patriotic inspiration during World War II. While preparing an original patriotic song, Michael weaves in the history of 1940s big bands, USO shows, V-disks, war bond rallies and the powerful role popular music played in boosting morale. Guest appearances by Margaret Whiting and Marvin Hamlisch.
A New Step Every Day
Explores the fast and furious 1920s and ‘30s, when jazz was hot, credit was loose, and illegal booze flowed freely in underground speakeasies. Between performances, Feinstein illustrates the impact of talking pictures, the dawn of radio, and the fledgling recording industry. Additionally, it introduces us to collectors and musicians who keep the spirit of the Jazz Age alive today. Guest appearance by Vince Giordano.
PBS National Broadcast: October 6, 13, 20, 2010
UK Broadcast (SkyArts, series of all 9 episodes:) November 2012 – January 2013
Season One Production Funding provided by Sara P. Carruthers, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundtion, The Lizzie and Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation, Peter O. Hanson, Irwin Helford, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, The Ted Snowdon Foundation, The Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation, The Scherer Foundation, The Ruder Bever Family, Diane P. Kranz, Jamie deRoy Charitable Trust