Find out about the performing career of vocalist and songwriter Jack Donahue, along with details about his professional collaborations and recording history.
Vocalist and songwriter Jack Donahue finished his new CD Parade: Live in New York City in late 2010. Parade, released by Two Maples Music, documents Mr. Donahue’s recent live performances at New York City’s famed Birdland jazz club as well as The Metropolitan Room and includes a special studio performance by Jack with acclaimed pianist Fred Hersch. On Parade Jack takes on Great American Songbook material like "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”, Musical Theater classics such as “Before the Parade Passes By” and pop jewels like “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Jimmy Webb. The jazz-styled arrangements (by Erik Privert, Randy Ingram and Fred Hersch) along with Mr. Donahue’s beautiful voice and spot-on interpretations reinvent these beautiful songs.
Donahue writes music and lyrics the Gershwins would have been proud to do. The lyrics were on a par with Johnny Mercer's.
—All About Jazz
Jack's previous CD A Small Blue Thing was released on Two Maples Music in mid-2007. The disc features some songs by composers featured on his previous disc (Strange Weather) including Cole Porter, Suzanne Vega, Alec Wilder, as well as songs by Peter Eldridge and Donahue himself. Jack is joined by an all-star lineup of jazz talents: Randy Ingram on piano, Dan Reiser and Jared Schonig on drums, Matt Penman and Matt Clohesy on bass, Keith Ganz on guitar, Jeremy Udden on alto sax, Stephanie Winters on cello, and very special guests Joe Locke on vibraphone and Fred Hersch on piano.
Donahue’s 2005 release Strange Weather (PS Classics) was released to wide critical acclaim. That project reunited Donahue with Grammy award-winning artist/producer Peter Eldridge of New York Voices. On Strange Weather Jack collaborated with an excellent group of jazz musicians including Johnny Frigo, Loston Harris, Andy Ezrin, David Finck, Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, and Ben Wittman. Strange Weather features fresh takes on classic songs by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Kurt Weill, Charlie Chaplin and others.
Like Jack’s debut recording (Lighthouse), Strange Weather pairs well-known standards with songs by contemporary writers such as Suzanne Vega, Kenny Rankin, and Peter Eldridge. Christopher Loudon of Jazz Times wrote:
“It’s not every singer who can handle the carousel ebullience of Kenny Rankin’s ‘Haven’t We Met,’ the retro bounciness of ‘You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,’ the saucy innuendo of Cole Porter’s ‘Let’s Do It,’ the inky grandeur of Kurt Well’s ‘Lost in the Stars,’ and the cheeky familiarity of Jay Leonhart’s cocky ‘Robert Frost’ with parallel aplomb. Donahue can.”
Donahue is a classic. Blessed with looks and an undeniably lovely voice. Lots of singers are striving to be the next Mel Torme. This guy’s a contender.
— The Philadelphia Daily News
In addition to his songwriting and recording career, Jack has performed at major venues around the country including The Catalina Bar & Grill in L.A., Sculler’s and Regattabar in Boston, Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia, and Birdland, Jazz Standard, and The Algonquin Hotel’s famous Oak Room in New York City. Jack has sung with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, headlined on The QE II’s world cruise and has played at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the legendary Rainbow Room.
Jack’s live performances have earned him critical acclaim:
“Donahue is a classic. Blessed with looks and an undeniably lovely voice. Lots of singers are striving to be the next Mel Torme. This guy’s a contender.”
—The Philadelphia Daily News
“There is a bright new talent in our midst . . . with a rich and enchanting voice and a stylish act full of fine songs that are as sad, funny and beautiful as they are unhackneyed. (Mr. Donahue) already has more polish and taste than a lot of performers twice his age, with half of the inflated self-importance of many over-praised kids who are even younger. Handsome and personable, with his musical pores wide open, there is a strong indication that Mr. Donahue is going places fast.”
—Rex Reed, The New York Observer