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The Brill Building Songwriters This Friday



A show coming up this Friday October 28th at the Skokie Theater will pay tribute to the hotbed of creativity in songwriting that came out of the Brill Building in New York city during the 1960's . The show is presented by the husband and wife team of Anne and Mark Burnell and will focus on the music that was written during that time which was performed by such artists as James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bobby Darin and many others.

We caught up with Anne Burnell to get more information about this very intriguing show.

CJM: Tell us about the concept of the show, why the Brill Building and why is it so significant?

Burnell: This was a creative center like none other. A hotbed of songwriting. In its heyday in the 1960's there were over 165 music businesses in the Brill Building. The writers Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Burt Bacharach Hal David, Neal Sedaka, Howard Greenfield, Cynthia Weil. Barry Mann, Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman, Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller, Carol Bayer Sager, producer Phil Spector, the singers Mama Cass, Aretha, Carly Simon, Bobby Darin, Ben E. King and the Drifters, James Taylor, Paul Anka, Dionne Warwick, Jim Croce, Paul Simon and so many more.

CJM: Did the music you will be performing serve as an inspiration in your own musical development?

Burnell: I have always loved good stories in songs, especially the singer songwriters. Both of us have taken a crack or two at writing. With this music, there's lots of opportunities for vocal harmony which we love.

CJM: Can you share some of the repertoire that will be performed that evening?

Burnell: "Jazzman" is one of our favorites, she's talking to the horn player - "lift me won't you lift me, above the old routine.....Jazzman, take my blues away" reminds me of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road". The story of "Save the Last Dance for Me" that Doc Pomus had polio and couldn't dance, and his wife was a beautiful Broadway dancer, he was telling her, yes go and dance, but don't forget who's taking you home.

CJM: Who will be performing with you on October 28th?

Eric Schneider will be joining us on sax. Eric played on my last CD, he's the most talented guy and he makes everything sound like an amazing recording with lots of soul! We played an annual event together for years with Joannie Pallato, Sparrow, and George Freeman, and I love his sets at Andy's.

Glenn DeMichele is on bass. Glenn plays a five string and has been with me in my original and blues band from the 90's playing clubs and festivals. He also plays pedal steel in a country band.

Nick Kitsos is on drums, we rarely got to work together. Recently, I called him up for a benefit gig, and we reconnected. Love his rock sensibility. He's played for Poi Dog one of my favorite bands among many others.

Mark Burnell, keyboard, vocals and is the music director. Mark is a well known pianist, vocal coach, and music director for many organizations. We work together (and we are married), but we haven't done a show in a long time. We used to open them here and go to New York. We will see where this one takes us!

CJM: What are the details on tickets and location of the performance?

Burnell: The show is this Friday October 28th at 7:30pm and tickets are $25. It is at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Ave, Skokie, IL. You can visit the SkokieTheatre.org for tickets and information.

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