Saturday, May 22, 1999

Feinstein embodies fine style


By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


No one can say Michael Feinstein doesn't have a knack for improvisation.

"Could somebody turn down the radio?" he asked the first time that noise from the nearby John Mayall concert intruded at the Waikiki Shell last night. Noise from the Mayall show was a recurrent problem as Feinstein and the Honolulu Symphony concluded the 1999 Starlight concert series, but he did everything he could -- even a Jimmy Durante impression -- to incorporate the ever-louder noise from across the street in his 65-minute performance.

Feinstein survived the sonic intrusions in fine style.

A more welcome component of last night's show was a duet by Feinstein and principal pops conductor Matt Catingub. It was a reunion performance in that Feinstein was featured on Catingub's "Gershwin 100" album, and their interpretation of "An American in Paris" came off quite well. Hawaii jazz notables Bruce Hamada (bass) and Noel Okimoto (drums) were prominent in support.

Every kid in town with dreams of a career on Broadway should have watched as Feinstein celebrated a century of American pop music. Feinstein got the audience going his way with the first bars of "Nice Work if You Can Get It." He maintained the connection through his encore, "Fascinatin' Rhythm."

Feinstein was an engaging entertainer even when partially hidden by the piano, and he personified pizazz with class when he came out front.

Feinstein's look at some of the "worst" songs by great American pop music writers was a fine change of mood.

Catingub and the symphony brought out the rich beauty of these classic American pop melodies, although the string section was sometimes inaudible.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin