Born: October 19 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
barbara fasano has been hailed as one of the nation’s most stunning and soulful singers. Frank Scheck of The New York Post raves, Fasano is a gorgeous, soulful singer who has an actor’s intensity in whatever she sings. Whether singing a song by Joni Mitchell or Harold Arlen or Cole Porter, Fasano takes her audience on a spellbinding, emotional musical journey. The MAC, Bistro and New York Nightlife Award winner is a regular performer at New York’s most prestigious clubs. Together with her frequent musical partner, Eric Comstock, she was among the last performers to headline at the Algonquin’s legendary Oak Room supper club, with their show “HELLUVA TOWN: A New York Soundtrack”, which enjoyed an acclaimed and sold-out run and has toured the country. The New York Times’ Stephen Holden called it “exhilarating”, singling out Fasano as a “lyrically sensitive interpreter” and comparing her to one of her idols, Lena Horne. “Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure.”
Fasano’s exquisite voice reaches deep into the soul of humanity. “She illuminates with torchlight,” according to David Finkle of The Huffington Post. “The slim, raven-haired Fasano continually allows feelings to simmer and crackle, singing Cole Porter's ‘In the Still of the Night’ as well or better than anyone has ever sung it.” Rex Reed of The New York Observer notes, She gives off palpable electricity”, and NEXT’s David Hurst declares , “Fasano is nothing short of a revelation, with the poise and jazz chops to go with her beauty to create a formidable singer.” Theatermania’s Brian Scott Lipton simply states, “Fasano, who sounds better than ever, once again proves herself to be a remarkably expressive singer.”
Wall Street Journal jazz critic Will Friedwald calls Barbara “a charismatic stylist who effectively channels the spirits of the great über-divas Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand” in his new book The Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers (Pantheon, 2010). On her CD, “Written In The Stars”, a Harold Arlen collection, she surrounds herself with an A-list jazz ensemble, including John di Martino on piano. The CD has garnered praise in publications as diverse as JazzTimes and Playbill, and receives radio play around the world. The New Republic’s David Hajdu raves, “With this record, Barbara Fasano proves that she is not just a great Italian crooner, an heir to Sinatra for our time, but a jazz singer of the first rank.” Barbara’s previous CD, “The Girls of Summer”, is an eclectic mix ranging from Springsteen to Sondheim, and based on her one-woman show of the same title. Both of these CDs were named Record of the Year by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Back Stage Bistro awards, and her work as a live performer has twice earned her awards for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Barbara is a native New Yorker, who grew up in a spirited Italian Catholic household – excellent preparation for a life in show business! From her early childhood, music and stories were a way of life. Her mother made the Sunday lasagna while listening to Italian American singers like Jerry Vale on the radio. Her father listened to Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby and sang along in an effortless baritone, teaching Barbara many of his favorite songs. From the early Streisand albums, she learned the music of her favorite composer, Harold Arlen, and learned to play the guitar, memorizing recordings by Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and other singer-songwriters. Combine all this with her grandparents’ stories of Neapolitan singers and vaudeville and you see how her musical identity was forged. Within her eclectic choices, what remains consistent is her ability to invest a lyric with deep emotional truth, creating virtual one-act plays out of each song.
She earned a degree in theatre, has worked as an actress across the country, and is the recipient of Hofstra University's prestigious Estabrook Alumni Achievement Award. Barbara's work as a teacher in New York and around the country includes private coaching, workshops and master classes in the art of performance and song interpretation. Together with Eric Comstock, their workshop, SING THE TRUTH, has enriched the lives and music of hundreds of vocalists. They have an ongoing relationship with the Musical Theater department at University of Michigan, conducting a master workshop with the seniors. She has also worked with the Michael Feinstein Songbook Initiative in Los Angeles, coaching and judging gifted high school students.
Barbara’s many New York headline engagement include concert appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook at the Allen Room, Rose Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, New York Festival of Song, Town Hall and New York’s 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists series. Starring engagements in cabaret and nightclubs include The Algonquin, Feinstein’s, The Carlyle, Birdland, Iridium, Café Sabarsky, the Colony in Palm Beach, and the Rrazz Room in San Francisco. Arts centers and music festivals across the country include Caramoor, Arizona Jazz Festival, Jersey Jazz, Kanbar Center, Cooperstown Music Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall and Jazz at The Bistro in St. Louis, Prince Music Theatre, and Kerrytown Concert House.
In the words of jazz critic Ira Gitler, she “has it all, and then some … artistic, swinging, and superbly entertaining.”
Awards:Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Award ~ Female Vocalist; Record of the Year Written In The Stars; Major Duo Artists (with Eric Comstock); New York Back Stage Bistro Award ~ Female Vocalist; Outstanding Recording Written In The Stars; Outstanding Recording The Girls of Summer
3-Time MAC Award Winner:
Vocal Duo (With Eric Comstock)
Record Of The Year ~ Written In The Stars
3-Time Back Stage Bistro Award:
Outstanding Female Vocalist
Record Of The Year ~ The Girls Of Summer
Record Of The Year ~ Written In The Stars
— Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz
La Fasano is an excellent interpreter, as much at ease with jazz as with music having cabaret roots... the perfect interpretation of Arlen’s songs with a sophisticated voice ...
— Vittorio Lo Conte, All About Jazz, Italia
Barbara Fasano bears a distant vocal resemblance to Lena Horne... a lyrically sensitive interpreter ... turning the neighborhood into a hotbead of pleasure... —Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Fasano is a gorgeous, soulful singer who has an actor's intensity in whatever she sings. —Frank Scheck, The New York Post
With this record, Barbara Fasano proves that she is not just a great Italian crooner, an heir to Sinatra for our time, but a jazz singer of the first rank. —David Hajdu, music critic, The New Republic
Taste, built-in dramatic chops, the ability to manipulate time, and, above all, respect for lyrics... Ms. Fasano has plenty of the above, says Harvey Siders in JazzTimes.
Steven Suskin of PLAYBILL raves, The good news today is that we now have another Arlen collection that can be played alongside Harold's. Fasano brings us Arlen treasures both familiar and non ... praise the band, and the singer, and thank them for a bluesy, jazzy, swinging album of Arlen.
Jazz writer Will Friedwald calls Fasano, a charismatic stylist who effectively channels the spirits of the great uber-divas Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand.
WRITTEN IN THE STARS
Human Child Records 825
THE GIRLS OF SUMMER
Human Child Records 400
Human Child Records 333
THE BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1964
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New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
An ongoing teaching relationship with the Musical Theatre students at the University of Michigan, conducting master classes. Private coaching, workshops, & master classes in NYC, working with students of all levels.