A Conversation with Burt Bacharach

huffpoHuffington Post this morning has a terrific interview with Burt to promote the release of A Life in Song, his new concert (and interview) Blu-ray. An excerpt:

…Sometimes, just one note makes a difference. If you take one note or one bar and put it in or take it out, it influences the whole balance of the actual song. So for me, the turning point was an A&R man out of Chicago named Calvin Carter. He was working at Vee-Jay Records, an R&B label. Good label. He called me in New York and he said, “Jerry Butler wants to record this song of yours and he wants to be able to come into New York. I want to be there in New York with him and we want you to do the date.” That means write the arrangement, set the tempos, get the musicians you want, be in the studio–everything. That was the door that opened. Once I had permission to get into the studio and was able to control the environment of that particular song and episode that was going on, how it was done, and being able to say, “No, I need another take,” things changed.

To read the full interview, visit Huffington Post.

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An Evening with Rumer

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British singer-songwriter Rumer, who recently finished recording This Girl’s in Love, an album of Bacharach-David songs, at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, will perform a benefit concert for the South Pasadena Public Library later this month. The show takes place March 26 in the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room.

Fans may recall that Rumer released an excellent EP of Bacharach songs in 2010, Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas, and that her husband and bandleader is Rob Shirakbari, Burt’s former musical director and keyboard player.

The full text of the announcement is below.

“An Evening with Rumer” will be presented on the “Carnegie Stage” of the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room on Saturday, March 26 at 8 p.m. The fundraising concert will benefit the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and Rumer’s own handpicked charity, Save Korean Dogs/NamiKim.org, a non-profit animal protection organization.

Rumer is a critically acclaimed British soft rock singer/songwriter whose debut album “Seasons of My Soul” sold over a million copies worldwide. Since then she has released “Boys Don’t Cry” (2012) and “Into Colour” (2014) and earned raves for her live shows across the globe.  Rumer’s success has led to her performance for President Barack Obama at the White House, as well as for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

Rumer and her husband J.R. (Rob) Shirakbari are currently in Los Angeles recording a Bacharach and David Songbook album entitled “This Girl’s In Love”. The much-anticipated album is set for release by Warner Music in 2016.

The one-of-a-kind, not-to-be-missed concert will also showcase an opening set by J.R. Shirakbari, who is the Music Director for Dionne Warwick, and for many years  he was the Music Director for Burt Bacharach.  Rob has recorded, or played with, many great artists, including Adele, Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Garth Brooks, Michael Bublé, Gladys Knight, Frank Sinatra, and many more. J.R. Shirakbari will soon be releasing his first solo album, “Theme.”.

For the South Pasadena concert J.R. Shirakbari will be playing a Steinway and Rumer will be accompanied by a stellar band comprised of:

  • Jon Gilutin— a keyboardist who worked with Linda Ronstadt for 18 years and served as her Musical Director.
  • Mark Goldenberg—played Lead Guitar with Jackson Browne from 1994-2010.
  • Jerry Watts— Bass Chair at prestigious LAMA (Los Angeles Music Academy).
  • John Ferraro—Currently, he is the drummer for Burt Bacharach.

Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at rumerconcert.eventbrite.com Admission cannot be purchased at the door. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and seating will be “festival style” Autographed CDs and LPs will be available for purchase at a signing table. Ample free parking for concertgoers will be available at 1020 El Centro Street, thanks to support of the South Pasadena Unified School District.


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Dionne Warwick’s first TV special airs on getTV

DionneWarwickSouledOutThis week, over-the-air network getTV is airing Dionne Warwick’s first network TV special. The Dionne Warwick Special: Souled Out, originally broadcast Sept. 17, 1969, captures Dionne at the height of her career and features performances from Burt Bacharach, Glen Campbell, Creedence Clearwater Revival and comedian George Kirby. The special airs March 4 at 1 p.m. CST and March 6 at 9 a.m. CST. As the saying goes, check your local listings to see if you can pick up getTV in your market. (Thanks to Alec C. for the tip!)

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Bacharach returns to Europe this summer

Love-Supreme-FestivalFollowing last year’s mammoth tour of the UK and Italy, which included a triumphant performance on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Burt Bacharach returns to Europe this summer for an encore. Burt is currently scheduled to perform at Vienna’s Jazz Fest Wien on July 1 followed by a headlining performance at the Love Supreme Festival in East Sussex, U.K., on July 3 (where he shares top billing with the legendary Grace Jones).

As always, for the most up-to-date list of upcoming concert appearances (that I’m aware of, anyway), visit the On Tour page.

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Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song

A Life In SongOn Feb. 26, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release a new concert special celebrating the life and career of Burt Bacharach. Filmed last year at London’s Royal Festival Hall and originally aired on the BBC, Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song combines live performances of classic Bacharach songs with an on-stage conversation between Burt and Michael Grade in which Burt discusses his life and the art of songwriting and shares some of the stories behind his songs. In addition to Burt and his band, the concert features live performances by Alfie Boe, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Shaun Escoffery, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Hayward, Michael Kiwanuka, Laura Mvula and Joss Stone. Burt Bacharach: A Life in Song is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.


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Lincoln Center to livestream “Some Lovers”

bacharach-saterLincoln Center will present a free livestream of tonight’s concert presentation of songs from “Some Lovers,” Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater acclaimed new musical. As part of Lincoln Center’s LC Originals: First Look series, top Broadway talent including Will Swenson, Jessica Phillps, Jenni Barber and Andrew Mueller will perform the songs of “Some Lovers.” The concert is at 7:30 p.m. ET in the David Rubenstein Atrium. To see the livestream, visit http://www.lincolncenter.org/lc-live

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Close To You earns glowing reviews in West End debut


Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined, Kyle Riabko’s jukebox musical celebrating the genius of Burt Bacharach, opened at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End last night to glowing reviews. In the week leading up to last night’s premiere, Burt, accompanied by Riabko, the show’s star and creator, made the rounds with a series of media appearances to promote the show on Good Morning, Britain, Later with Jools Holland, the Steve Wright Show and others.

Among the more notable reviews, Doug Mayo of BritishTheater.com gave the show five stars, Claire Allfree writing for The Telegraph called it a “delirious dreamscape,”  Mark Shenton writing for London Theater Guide gave it four stars, and Ian Foster of LondonTheatre1.com gave the show five stars.

Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined continues at the Criterion Theatre through Jan. 10, 2016.

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“Close To You – Bacharach Reimagined” set for West End premiere

After an acclaimed run at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, Kyle Riabko’s Close To You – Bacharach Reimagined transfers to the West End next month. The musical review, which features Riabko’s stripped-down arrangements of Bacharach classics and which comes with Burt’s blessing, opens at the Criterion Theatre on Oct. 2. If you’re in the U.K., tickets are now available via Ticketmaster.co.uk.

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Burt announces fall tour of Australia

315ea4465510bcc4d59eaf81a84f22fdFresh off his summer tour of Europe, Burt and his band will head Down Under this fall for a series of dates in Australia. His six dates there will be his first performances in Australia since 2012. Burt has always had a special place in his heart for Australia. Fans no doubt recall his Live at the Sydney Opera House album was recorded during a 2008 tour.

The full slate of tour dates is listed below.

Oct. 24 Adelaide, Australia (Adelaide Entertainment Centre)
Oct. 26 Perth, Australia (Crown Theatre)
Oct. 28 Melbourne, Australia (Palais Theatre)
Oct. 30 Canberra, Australia (Royal Theatre)
Nov. 1 Sydney, Australia (State Theatre)
Nov. 4 Gold Coast, Australia (Jupiters Hotel and Casino)
For the most up-to-date tour listing, visit the On Tour page.
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