Russ Lorenson Brings Tony Bennett's Best Back to Austin

The best is yet to come as singer and recording artist Russ Lorenson honors an American music icon in his show, "Benedetto/Blessed: A Tribute to the Life and Music of Tony Bennett." Lorenson's tribute to the man whom Frank Sinatra called "the best singer in the business" premiered at Austin Cabaret Theatre's July 2006 gala as the opening act for the legendary Eartha Kitt. Since then, the show has enjoyed sold-out runs across the country, including San Francisco's Empire Plush Room, Sterling's Upstairs in Los Angeles, Milwaukee's Wilson Center for the Arts, and New York's famed Iridium Jazz Club. The show is musically directed by renowned jazz pianist Kelly Park.

In honor - not impersonation - of Mr. Bennett (whose birth name translates to "blessed" in Italian), and his successful career spanning over six decades, Lorenson performs an array of the crooner's biggest hits, including "I Left My Heart in San Francisco, " "Fly Me To The Moon, " "Because of You" and "The Shadow of Your Smile."

"I find great inspiration in Mr. Bennett's music and artistic vision, " says Lorenson. "The Great American Songbook has had no greater champion, and I am honored to be singing Mr. Bennett's greatest hits."

Russ Lorenson has established a reputation as one of the San Francisco Bay Area's leading interpreters of jazz standards, with a sound and approach that place him at the intersection of Broadway, jazz, and pop – the very essence of the Great American Songbook. Jazz Review says that "Lorenson is not just a crooner covering the traditional Sinatra style or trying to be the next Connick; he is his own man."

Nominated for a 2007 MAC Award by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, Russ Lorenson's passion for the stage started as a youngster, with a performing career that began at age seven in his home town of Philadelphia. As an actor he has appeared in award-winning musical productions with theatre companies throughout California, and has toured with the National Theatre for Children. As a vocalist he has toured the US, UK and Europe, appearing in concert with such luminaries as Broadway stars Karen Mason and Dale Kristien, "Queen of Cabaret" Andrea Marcovicci, jazz diva Wesla Whitfield, and as the opening act for the legendary Eartha Kitt.

Lorenson's previous show, "A Little Travelin' Music, " played to sold-out audiences on both coasts. His debut CD, of the same name, was released in May 2006 on the LML Music label and features songs from the show and includes duets with special guests Shawn Ryan and Klea Blackhurst. His second CD, "What I Want For Christmas, " was also released on LML Music in 2006, and has received extensive radio airplay in major markets across the US. Both CD's were included in the initial Nominating Ballot for the 2006 Grammy Awards.

In recognition of his solid and sophisticated musical vocabulary, Jazz Review says that ""Lorenson is not just a crooner covering the traditional Sinatra style or trying to be the next Connick, he is his own man." The Napa Valley Register said that "...Lorenson's tribute is solid gold." The San Diego Union-Tribune said that his "relaxed, easy deliveries...seem natural and heartfelt..." The Los Angeles Times said that he brings "a supple voice and strong sense of characterization to all his songs." Talkin' said that "Russ Lorenson has brought the crooner style back to the cabaret scene...reminiscent of those singers that I used to hear when the 52nd Street cabarets were the cat's meow." said, "Not only does Lorenson have the soul of the greats – Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and other dream crooners of the 50's, 60's and 70's – he has the band with him to really bring those decades to life." The Juice Weekly called Russ "...a performer that is reminiscent of the old greats..." The Coronado Journal simply called him "…irresistible…"

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