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Dan Zanes does showtunes for kids

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:26 pm
by Jake
DAN ZANES AND FRIENDS’ 76 TROMBONES
GRAMMY-WINNING BAND RE-IMAGINES
LEGENDARY BROADWAY TUNES FROM THE
MPL CATALOG FOR FAMILY AUDIENCES

CAROL CHANNING, BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL,
MATTHEW BRODERICK AND MORE

Family music pioneers Dan Zanes and Friends delve into a vital part of America’s musical heritage with their forthcoming album of timeless songs owned by Sir Paul McCartney’s MPL Music Publishing catalog. 76 Trombones comes out November 17 features an array of new friends from Broadway, including Tony Award winners Carol Channing (Hello, Dolly!), Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me, Kate) and Matthew Broderick (The Producers), along with de’Adre Aziza (Passing Strange) and Derick K. Grant (Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk). The album introduces a new generation of kids to classic Broadway songs that everyone knows and loves. A portion of the proceeds from the CD will benefit Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie’s Broadway Kids, which is an arts education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts.

76 Trombones began in a slightly different way than other Zanes and Friends recordings, this time with an out-of-the-blue phone call. Nancy Jeffries from MPL rang Zanes to see if he and his band would be interested in raiding their Broadway publishing vaults and collaborating with some of Broadway’s best to create a family CD. Within the year, after countless hours of sifting and experimenting, Zanes and Friends were holed up in Puerto Rico with long-time Zanes co-producer Rob Friedman recording 76 Trombones.

Zanes and Friends’ trip down the Great White Way traverses genre-defining works held by MPL including “Hello Dolly” (from Hello Dolly with Carol Channing), “I Like Everybody” (from The Most Happy Fella with Brian Stokes Mitchell), “I Don’t Need Anything But You” (from Annie, with de’Adre Aziza), “I Can Do That” (from A Chorus Line with tap dancer Derick K. Grant), “Before the Parade Passes By” (from Hello, Dolly! with Matthew Broderick), and “Tomorrow, Mañana” (from Annie with Sonia de los Santos).

Zanes says, “With the exception of the Hair soundtrack, musicals were never my thing as a kid. I was too caught up in the music of Leadbelly back then. But as a parent, one afternoon at my daughter’s request, I figured out how to play “Bushel And A Peck” (from Guys and Dolls). I had a sudden realization that once you took away the hopped-up big band and the high intensity vocals it was an amazing folk song. It occurred to me that maybe a lot of these Broadway songs could be broken down to their ragged essence, reworked as 21st Century all-ages music, and presented in a manner that might make you think, ‘Hey, I can do that.’ When the people at MPL called me two years ago about a possible Broadway album I took it as a sign that the time was finally right to put on my dusty, moth-eaten tux and get loose with the songs of American musicals. For me, the songs and performances on this CD are packed with emotion and celebration. I’m grateful and still a little surprised that the people at MPL trusted us with them!”

Zanes began by distributing a homemade cassette at a neighborhood park in New York City’s West Village and has since released several Parents Choice Award-winning, bestselling albums including the acclaimed album The Welcome Table: Songs of Inspiration, Mystery & Good Times and Catch That Train!, which won the 2007 Grammy for “Best Musical Album for Children.” Music videos for Zanes’ songs have aired on The Noggin Network and “Sesame Street” and The Disney Channel’s “Playhouse Disney.” Zanes just released his new DVD The Fine Friends Are Here! in collaboration with Razor & Tie Entertainment. Finally, Zanes has also released two limited edition ukuleles—called the dz flea and the fiesta flea—and two picture books made in collaboration with his illustrator-musician brother-in-law, Donald Saaf (Little, Brown and Company Books).

Dan Zanes and Friends are: Dan Zanes, Colin Brooks, Sonia De Los Santos, John Foti, Saskia Sunshine Lane and Elena Moon Park.