Groovin', Easy, Simplistically-Complexed, Relaxed, and Cool is how Michael Shirtz's new album BLUE SKIES is being described. His smooth lyrical voice matched with his conversational approach to tunes makes the whole album intimate and honest. Listeners will feel like they are hanging out next to him as he sings. Producer Doug Neel said, "It's Michael Shirtz at his best!"
To kick off the release of the album, Michael will share the music and stories that have influenced BLUE SKIES in his new show that chronicles his career as an artist with the music of jazz, big bands, blues, R&B, and more. Presented with multimedia and musical tributes, this show premiers the music of BLUES SKIES and shares how a dream that started twenty years ago became a reality. Find out what inspired him to be a producer, performer, and jazz musician.
Music collaborator and playwright Marilyn Forster said, “From the first track, I was there. Each tune made me either want to dance or dream, and either one was just what I needed. Mike and the guys can sell a song like they mean it."
BLUE SKIES features classic standards such as “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Route 66,” and the album’s title track, “Blue Skies.” In what has been described as the “Shirtz Style,” all the tracks on the album go through multiple layers of harmonic and style changes, keeping the listener intrigued and refreshed.
“I wanted to create an album that would be easy for people to listen and relax to, while also introducing these American Songbook tunes in a fresh new light,” says Shirtz about the album. “I want people of all generations to love these songs as much as I do – and that means retelling their stories with some modern sounds mixed with the classic styles of jazz.”
In October, an all-star ensemble featuring Douglas Neel (guitar/trombone), Dwight Bailey (bass), Reggie Jackson (drums), Danny Bauer (keyboards), Charles Saenz (trumpet), and New York saxophonist George Michael gathered at Capital's CMC Studio F in Columbus, Ohio for the album’s recording sessions. Entirely produced by Neel and Shirtz, recorded by master engineer Chad Loughrige, the album features 13 songs on 11 tracks that underscores Michael's unique approach of mixing various styles and genres together.
The album launches February 23 on Amazon, iTunes, and michaelshirtz.com. Learn more about the songs and musicians on BLUE SKIES and join them for the show and album premier on Friday, February 23, at the Sandusky State Theatre in Sandusky, Ohio.
The State Theatre’s executive directed, Chris Parthemore, shared, “Michael has been entertaining patrons at the State Theatre for years and we are excited to be hosting a special Jazz@8 to celebrate the release of his first studio album and new show.”
Show begins at 8 p.m. , February 23, at the Sandusky State Theatre in Sandusky, Ohio. CD signing to follow. Call 419-626-1950 to purchase tickets or go to sanduskystate.com.