One of the great names in music, Count Basie is in the spotlight in February as our Breeze Artist of The Month. Basie was much more than just a famous bandleader. The Basie sound is one of the most distinctive musical styles of all-time. This month we spotlight Basie’s great recordings as well as some of the classic recordings Basie did accompanying the best singers in the world.
2019 starts with Harry Connick Jr. as our first Breeze Artist of the Month for the new year… This year marks the 30th anniversary of Harry’s breakthrough recording of music for the soundtrack of the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally.
Singing, playing, acting and hosting, Harry, the original “Renaissance Man,” also just celebrated the 300th anniversary of his native New Orleans in a celebrated concert in December.
He’s got three Grammy awards, two Emmy Awards, two Tony nominations, induction into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, sales of over 28 million albums and countless rave reviews. But despite it all, Harry Connick, Jr. has never slowed his creative pace; he’s just shown his determination to apply his talents in ways that prove inspirational to other artists and publicly spirited citizens.
To wrap up 2018 with a nice Christmas bow around it, Perry Como and all of his classic Christmas and Holiday recordings get the spotlight as this year’s final Artist of the Month. Mr. Como’s Christmas recordings have been part of America’s celebration of the holidays since the 1940s and many now fall into the category of Timeless favorites enjoyed by several generations.
With the year quickly drawing to a close, Michael Buble finally gets the honor of Breeze Artist of the Month. At 43, this Grammy Award winning, world famous singer has sold more than 75 million records and has helped bring the Great American Songbook to a whole new generation of fans. This month Michael releases his 10th album which will be simply titled “❤️”.
Growing up in Burnaby, British Columbia, Michael’s grandfather’s huge collection of records was the foundation of his passion for classic jazz and soul music. Thanks to famed artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, it wasn’t too long before young Michael decided that he wanted to follow in their famous footsteps. Said Bublé, “I wanted to be a singer and I knew that this was the music that I wanted to sing.”
Michael’s new album, “❤️ ” (pronounced “Love”) will be released this month. “It’s been a little while, huh?” Bublé said in a Facebook Live video unveiling the album news, recognizing that he hasn’t been very active since releasing his previous album, Nobody But Me, in 2016. Bublé’s absence has been primarily due to his oldest son Noah’s battle with cancer, which he recently said almost made him consider never returning to music. But as Noah’s condition has improved, Bublé has been able return to the studio to create Love, an album he considers to be a token of his gratitude.
In October the Artist of the month spotlight shines on the late Natalie Cole.
Aided by her father’s last name but carried by raw talent, Cole began performing in front of live audiences at the age of 11 and later, inspired by her father’s musical gift, pursued her own career as an R&B singer. She later gravitated toward smooth pop and jazz genres. Her first album, 1975’s “Inseparable,” won two Grammys, one for best new artist and one for best female R&B vocal performance for the hit “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love).”
She put out a number of concept albums, including the 2013 Grammy-winning “Natalie Cole in Espanol.”
Here’s a list of her accomplishments, as compiled on her official website:
Natalie Cole Career Highlights
- Natalie Cole rocketed to stardom in 1975 with her debut album, Inseparable, earning her a #1 single, “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” and her first two Grammy® awards for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
- In 1977, Cole scored a No. 1 R&B hit with “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” from her third release, Unpredictable, which became her first platinum album. Cole continued her winning streak that same year with her fourth album, Thankful, which also went platinum and featured another signature hit, “Our Love.”
- The singer expanded her success with her own TV special in 1977. It was the first of more than 300 major television appearances in her career, including dramatic roles on “Law and Order” and “Touched by an Angel” as well as guest spots on talk shows with Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Larry King.
- In 1979, Cole was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- After overcoming personal challenges, Cole returned in peak form with 1987’s Everlasting, an album which garnered three hit singles: “Jump Start (My Heart),” the Top 10 ballad “I Live For Your Love,” and her dance-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac.”
- Cole marked a career milestone in 1991 with the release of Unforgettable…With Love, featuring the celebrated duet with her late father, Nat King Cole. The album spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, earned six Grammy® awards, and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.
- In 1996, Cole released a follow-up album of American standards, Stardust, which featured another duet with her father on “When I Fall in Love.” The album went platinum and won another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
- Subsequent albums, Snowfall on the Sahara (1999) and Ask a Woman Who Knows (2002), both merited the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Artist
- Cole took home her ninth career GRAMMY® award for 2008’s Still Unforgettable, which won for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. It also earned Natalie a NAACP Award for Best Jazz Artist.”
- In 2001, she starred as herself in “Livin’ for Love: the Natalie Cole Story,” based on her autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder, which detailed her harrowing drive to overcome drug addiction. She received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. As an actress, Natalie starred in director Delbert Mann’s “Lily in Winter” and co-starred with Laurence Fishburne and Cicely Tyson in Walter Mosley’s “Always Outnumbered
- Cole released a second memoir in 2010 titled “Love Brought Me Back,” the heart-wrenching chronicle of her quest for a kidney transplant.
- Natalie Cole now serves as spokesperson for the University Kidney Research Organization, a nonprofit organization supporting medical research related to the prevention, treatment, and eradication of all form of kidney disease.
September brings our first encore appearance as Breeze Artist of The Month and that honor goes to the great Tony Bennett. Later this month he releases a brand new duet album with Diana Krall, so Tony Bennett gets the spotlight treatment for September.
He is one of the icons of American music and has been carrying the torch for the Great American Songbook throughout his career that has spanned an amazing 7 decades. He just recently celebrated his 92nd birthday in August, and Bennett shows no so signs of slowing down his new album and a touring schedule that taken him to every corner of the world for Sold Out shows.
Believe it or not, Grammy Award winning singer KD has been on the music scene now for more than 30 years and now she’s our Breeze Artist of The Month in August. Not defined by any onemusic genre, this talented Canadian born singer has a staggering vocal range and has recorded in her career with the likes of Tony Bennett and Roy Orbison. She has even recently appeared on Broadway.
But, as her official bio reports, “But her best-known collaboration has been with veteran crooner Tony Bennett, with whom she recorded the 2002 Wonderful World duets album and continues to tour regularly, often in symphonic settings. Bennett may, in fact, be her biggest fan and he declared to the press what so many fans have come to believe over the last two and a half decades: ‘She’s the best singer of her generation.'”
More on k.d. lang:
This July the great Satchmo gets the spotlight treatment as our Breeze Artist of The Month. Without question one of the most important figures in all of music history, Armstrong’s Jazz trumpet playing and distinctive singing voice are timeless.
In addition to his scat singing and trumpet skills, he also appeared in over 35 movies.
His recording of What A Wonderful World was named one of the most important recordings of the 20th century.
For more information on Satchmo’s life and work, see A&E’s great collection of videos https://www.biography.com/people/louis-armstrong-9188912
We give June the Deluxe treatment because the host of The Radio Deluxe Show, John Pizzarelli is our Breeze Artist of The Month….Pizzarelli has now released more than 20 solo albums and recorded with the likes of Rosemary Clooney, George Shearing and even Paul McCartney. The New Jersey native comes from a very musical family headed by his father, the legendary Jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli.
John and his wife, Jessica Molaskey, are fixtures of the New York City scene, and have done much to further the appreciation of the Great American Songbook.
Here are a few things other people have to say about John:
Here’s a playlist of just a few Pizzarelli videos we’ve enjoyed:
One of today’s best interpreters of the Great American Songbook is Bobby Caldwell and he’s our Breeze Artist of The Month in May…The 66 yr old Caldwell started as a Pop singer but over the course of the last 20 years has put out a fine series of recordings very much in the style of Frank Sinatra and other Rat Pack era singers. While Bobby Caldwell has made a name for himself singing Standards, he also has a very big following in Japan.