Sondheim, Coleman, Kander, Menken Heard on Philip Chaffin's New CD, "Warm Spring Night"

News   Sondheim, Coleman, Kander, Menken Heard on Philip Chaffin's New CD, "Warm Spring Night"
Singer-actor Philip Chaffin, a partner at PS Classics, gets a second solo album — called "Warm Spring Night" — June 7.

Unlike his debut album, "Where Do I Go From You?," which launched the respected label and featured songs and arrangements of the big-band era, "Warm Spring Night" features Broadway material spanning almost 80 years, from Kern and Duke to Coleman and Sondheim, and includes a number of rarities, including the first recording of a Gershwin song from 1924 ("Evening Star," cut from Lady, Be Good!).

Kevin Stites (Nine, Fiddler on the Roof) conducts the 25-piece orchestra. Orchestrators on the disc include Larry Hochman, Bruce Coughlin and Glen Daum. Broadway's Rebecca Luker joins on vocals for Vernon Duke and Howard Dietz's "Sailing at Midnight."

Chaffin is the co-founder and A&R director of PS Classics, devoted to the heritage of American pop and theatre music. The label's co-founder Tommy Krasker, who produced the new album, told, "At the time [of Chaffin's first disc], we really weren't intending to do much more than that one album — we certainly weren't intending to have an ongoing 'label,' or to put out as many CDs as we have. But it was the warm response to 'Where Do I Go From You?,' and then to our next album, 'Windflowers: The Songs of Jerome Moross' — not to mention the fun we had making them — that prompted us to continue."

Chaffin has appeared in New York City in both concerts (including several of the Encores! productions at City Center, as well as Lyrics and Lyricists at the 92nd Street Y and the Songwriter Series at Joe's Pub) and in theatrical evenings, including the Broadway premiere of Alan Menken and Tim Rice's King David, from which the new CD draws two of its songs, including the title track. Currently, Chaffin divides his time between performing and running PS Classics.

As A&R director, he reviews all submissions and ultimately greenlights all recordings – in particular, those involving the vocal artists who’ll appear on solo albums and compilations. Of the new disc, Krasker said, "As we're both drawn to rare material, we worked to make sure the rarities didn't overtake the album, but to find a nice balance. It's funny, it wasn't until we were almost finished that I realized the album sort of reflects what PS Classics has come to stand for: nearly a century's worth of American popular song, the new sitting beside old, the known beside the unknown. And I'm especially pleased that the songs we chose, many of which are highly romantic, also allowed Philip to show off the more dramatic side of his voice, which he'd so enjoyed doing on 'The Maury Yeston Songbook.'"

The track listing is as follows:

  • "Warm Spring Night" (Alan Menken & Tim Rice)
  • "There's a Room in My House" (John Kander, James Goldman & William Goldman)
  • "Don't Ever Leave Me" (Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II)
  • "Haunted Heart" (Arthur Schwartz & Howard Dietz)
  • "Heaven in My Arms" (Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II)
  • "Evening Star" (George & Ira Gershwin)
  • "My Romance" (Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart)
  • "Out of My Dreams" (Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II)
  • "When in Love" (Alan Menken & Tim Rice)
  • "Silly People" (Stephen Sondheim)
  • "Sailing at Midnight" (Vernon Duke & Howard Dietz)
  • "That's All" (Alan Brandt & Bob Haymes)
  • "If It Is True" (Ricky Ian Gordon & Richard Nelson)
  • "You've Come Home"/"You're Far Away From Home" (Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh) *

    Other solo artists on the PS Classics label have included Christine Andreas, Jessica Molaskey, Rebecca Luker, and Darius de Haas. The label has been Grammy-nominated twice, for its cast albums of Roundabout Theatre Company's revivals of Nine and Assassins.

    Recent releases have included cast albums of the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Pacific Overtures (May 10) and Stephen Schwartz's new family musical Captain Louie (May 3 on the label's site, with later store date). Future releases include the Off-Broadway Red Clay Ramblers musical Lone Star Love and Jason Danieley & Marin Mazzie's disc of duets, "Opposite You" — both due out in the fall.

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