Michael Feinstein
(© Randee St. Nicholas)
Michael Feinstein
(© Randee St. Nicholas)
Without question, Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Project, now in a brief run at Feinstein's at the Loews Regency, is as heartfelt a tribute to "The Chairman of the Board" as one could wish for. Based on the just-released CD of the same name, the show -- which is being performed in the hotel's ballroom instead of the usual club -- features over a dozen songs Sinatra made famous, but many reinterpreted using orchestrations inspired by Nelson Riddle and other musical masters of the 1950s.

One of the best reasons to catch this show is the chance to hear the 17-piece big band who back Feinstein (who occasionally takes his traditional place behind the piano) -- a group that includes such top-notch musicians as guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, drummer Jim Saporito, and bassist David Finck. They lend snap and verve to the hour-long set.

As with any Feinstein show, audiences will also get a chance to revel in some of the greatest selections from "The Great American Songbook" as well as hear some rarely or never-heard material. The former category includes "The Lady Is a Tramp," "There's a Small Hotel," "Begin the Beguine," and "At Long Last Love," while the highlight of the latter camp is "The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye," a remarkable and melancholy tune written by John Williams and Marilyn and Alan Bergman for a four-song cycle requested by Sinatra late in his life, but which he never performed.

As might be expected, the always-appealing Feinstein shares some wonderful stories about his personal interactions with Sinatra -- most notably, a funny tale about how the young singer-pianist was hired to play at a private party for the star at Chasen's -- along with anecdotes about such personalities as Ira Gershwin and Bing Crosby.

Those expecting to hear a Sinatra imitation may be disappointed -- Feinstein's voice and phrasing have little in common with "Ol Blue Eyes" -- but most audiences will find this show to be satisfying entertainment.