Singer and pianist Michael Feinstein (pictured above) and composer-conductor-pianist André Previn have collaborated on an album celebrating Previn’s repertoire form his lesser-known catalog of pop songs, including many that were written for film. Titled Change of Heart: The Songs of André Previn, the disc will be released on April 16 by Telarc International.
During Previn’s long career, he’s established a presence in classical, jazz and opera music, as well as in film scoring and musical theater. He’s won four Oscars and 11 Grammys (including a Lifetime Achievement citation in 2010), and collaborated with a range of artists, including Shelly Manne, Red Mitchell, J.J. Johnson, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day and, most frequently in recent years, bassist David Finck.
Feinstein’s own catalog of recordings features several albums on which he is accompanied by legendary songwriters, performing their own tunes, including Jule Styne, Burton Lane, Hugh Martin and Jay Livingston. However, this recording has its own unique flair with Feintstein’s vocals, Previn on piano and Finck on bass.
The project began last April when Feinstein telephoned Previn to wish him a happy birthday. “When I called,” says Feinstein, “I said I would like to do an album of his songs. There was silence. Finally he said, ‘Is there enough?’ He was quite serious, because he didn’t take into account the voluminous amount of work he had done through the years. I think he came to dismiss his own songs, presuming that because they weren’t necessarily hits, they weren’t worthwhile or worth revisiting.” Says Previn of that initial conversation, “I proposed to Michael that there wouldn’t be more than a dozen people who would be interested, but he argued with me, and he is very persuasive, so I said OK.”
In assessing Change of Heart, Previn says, “We had a good time making the album.” From Feinstein’s perspective, “It was thrilling working with André. He’s got the greatest sense of humor, is a great storyteller and he’s a link to a history that is very important to me. Yet he’s still here, still contemporary and still making great music. He’s one of the most versatile musicians I have ever known because he is completely unfettered by genres. He loves all kinds of music and is conversant in a way that is staggering, yet he is very humble and self-effacing, especially when it comes to his own work. I suspect it was fun for him to look at these songs and find out that what he wrote was a hell of a lot better than he remembers it.”