Barbara Fasano, whose fourth CD, “BUSY BEING FREE" (2016 MAC Award ~ Major Recording of the Year) was released to critical acclaim ("My favorite new vocal album" -- Will Friedwald, WSJ) has been hailed as one of the nation’s most stunning and soulful singers. This June Fasano will appear at the Saratoga Jazz Festival with her trio from the album. Frank Scheck of The New York Post raves, "Fasano is a gorgeous, soulful singer who has an actor’s intensity in whatever she sings." Whether singing a song by Joni Mitchell or Harold Arlen or Cole Porter, Fasano takes her audience on a spellbinding, emotional musical journey. Her performances and recordings have won her three New York Bistro awards, six MAC awards and a New York Nightlife award. Fasano is a regular performer at New York’s most prestigious clubs. Together with her frequent musical partner, Eric Comstock, she was among the last singers to headline at the Algonquin’s legendary Oak Room supper club, with their show “HELLUVA TOWN: A New York Soundtrack”, which enjoyed an acclaimed and sold-out run and continues to tour the country. The New York Times’ Stephen Holden called it “exhilarating”, singling out Fasano as a “lyrically sensitive interpreter” and comparing her to one of her idols, Lena Horne. “Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure.” Their show, "Shoulder Season" won unanimous raves, & together they were awarded the 2016 MAC Award for Major Duo Artists, as well as receiving a Broadway World nomination for Duo Show of the Year. Their most recent concert is "DOWNTON ABBEY ROAD: The Best of Britain", a celebration of "American" standards that were penned across the pond, which opened at Birdland Jazz Club in New York, completed a run at the Kravis Center in Palm Beach, and in June will headline at the Provincetown Cabaret Festival.
Fasano’s voice reaches deep into the soul of humanity. “She illuminates with torchlight,” according to David Finkle of The Huffington Post. “The slim, raven-haired Fasano continually allows feelings to simmer and crackle, singing Cole Porter's ‘In the Still of the Night’ as well or better than anyone has ever sung it.” Rex Reed of The New York Observer notes, "She gives off palpable electricity", and NEXT’s David Hurst declares, “Fasano is nothing short of a revelation, with the poise and jazz chops to go with her beauty to create a formidable singer.” Theatermania’s Brian Scott Lipton simply states, “Fasano, who sounds better than ever, once again proves herself to be a remarkably expressive singer.”
Wall Street Journal jazz critic Will Friedwald calls Barbara “a charismatic stylist who effectively channels the spirits of the great über-divas Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand” in his book The Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers. On her CD, “Written In The Stars”, a Harold Arlen collection, she surrounds herself with an A-list jazz ensemble, including John di Martino on piano. The CD has garnered praise in publications as diverse as JazzTimes and Playbill, and receives radio play around the world. The New Republic’s David Hajdu raves, “With this record, Barbara Fasano proves that she is not just a great Italian crooner, an heir to Sinatra for our time, but a jazz singer of the first rank.” Barbara’s previous CD, “The Girls of Summer”, co-produced by pianist/arranger Rick Jensen, is an eclectic mix ranging from Springsteen to Sondheim, and based on her one-woman show of the same title. Both of these CDs were named Record of the Year by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and New York Bistro awards, and her work as a live performer has twice earned her awards for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Barbara is a native New Yorker, who grew up in a spirited Italian Catholic household – excellent preparation for a life in show business! From her early childhood, music and stories were a way of life. Her mother made the Sunday lasagna while listening to Italian American singers like Jerry Vale on the radio. Her father listened to Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby and sang along in a joyful baritone, teaching Barbara many of his favorite songs. From the early Streisand albums, she learned the music of her favorite composer, Harold Arlen, and as a teenager learned to play the guitar, memorizing recordings by Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and other singer-songwriters. Combine all this with her grandparents’ stories of Neapolitan singers and vaudeville and you see how her musical identity was forged. Within her eclectic choices, what remains consistent is her ability to invest a lyric with deep emotional truth, creating virtual one-act plays out of each song.
She earned a degree in theatre, has worked as an actress across the country, and is the recipient of Hofstra University's Estabrook Alumni Achievement Award. Barbara's work as a teacher in New York and around the country includes directing, private coaching, workshops and master classes in the art of performance and song interpretation. Together with Eric Comstock, their workshop, SING THE TRUTH, has enriched the lives and music of hundreds of vocalists. In addition to classes in New York, they conduct master classes with the Musical Theatre department at University of Michigan. They have been guest master teachers with the St. Louis Cabaret Conference and the Michael Feinstein Songbook Initiative in Los Angeles, coaching and judging gifted high school students. Recently they began teaching the American Songbook to acting students at Sanford Meisner's legendary acting conservatory, the Neighborhood Playhouse. To read more about Barbara's teaching, go here.
Barbara’s many New York headline engagement include concert appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook at the Appel Room, Rose Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, New York Festival of Song, Town Hall and New York’s 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists series. Starring engagements in cabaret and nightclubs include Birdland, Jazz at Kitano, The Algonquin, Feinstein’s, The Carlyle, Iridium, 54 Below, Café Sabarsky, the Palace in Stamford, CT, Night Town in Cleveland, Live at Zedel in London and the Royal Room at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach. Arts centers and music festivals across the country include Kravis Center, Caramoor, Arizona Jazz Festival, Jersey Jazz, Kanbar Center, Cooperstown Music Festival, Sheldon Concert Hall and Jazz at The Bistro in St. Louis, Prince Music Theatre, and Kerrytown Concert House. In June of 2017, Barbara will make her debut at the 40th Saratoga Jazz Festival with BUSY BEING FREE in concert.
In the words of revered jazz critic Ira Gitler, she “has it all, and then some … artistic, swinging, and superbly entertaining.”