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ABOUT JACK DONAHUE

Award-winning singer, songwriter and actor

Jack Donahue is an award-winning singer, songwriter and actor. Originally from Massachusetts, he has performed in many of the great jazz and cabaret venues across the country.

 

Jack finished his latest CD Parade: Live in New York City in late 2010. Parade documents Jack’s 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.
 

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, Fred Hersch on piano, and Kate McGarry on vocals.

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.”

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

"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

"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

 

 
 
 
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PERFORMANCES

Chateaux Laurier
Private Event

Ottawa, Canada
October 2020

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Role: Bernadette
Winner of Broadway World Award for "Best Actor in a Musical"
Kalita Humphreys Theater (2018), Dallas, TX
Zach Theater (2016), Austin, TX

 

Metropolitan Room
New York, NY

October and November 2012

December 2008

Feinstein's at Loews Regency
New York, NY

July 2012

Regattabar
The Charles Hotel

Cambridge, MA

October 2011

October 2009

April 2008

November 2005

Iridium Jazz Club
New York, NY

May 2011

Blue Note's Jazz Brunch
New York, NY

October 2011

Philadelphia Museum of Art
"Art After Five"
Philadelphia, PA
October 2009
February 2008

Birdland
New York, NY

May 2009

June 2007

November 2006

Mechanics Hall
Worcester, MA

Broadcast live on WICN Radio
December 2008

Gravity Lounge
CD Release Event for "A Small Blue Thing"
With special guest: Peter Eldridge
Charlottesville, VA
May 2007

Sweet Rhythm
New York, NY
March 2007

Cornelia Street Cafe
New York, NY
February 2007

Jazz Standard
New York, NY
May 2006

The Royal Room
The Colony Hotel
Palm Beach, FL
February 2006

July and August 2005

Zanzibar Blue
Philadelphia, PA
October 2005

Scullers Jazz Club
Boston, MA
September 2005

Catalina Bar & Grill
Los Angeles, CA
August 2005

The Oak Room
Algonquin Hotel
New York, NY
June 2005

The Rainbow Room

Private Event

Rockefeller Center

New York, NY

The Plush Room

San Francisco, CA

 

PRIVATE EVENTS

"Best Male Vocalist" — New York magazine Weddings edition, Oct. 2008

"Best Male Jazz Vocalist, 2009 and 2008" — Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets

"He can sing evergreens by the Gershwins with the same elegance he showers on contemporary works . . . Handsome and personable, with his musical pores wide open, there is a strong indication that Mr. Donahue is going places fast"     — Rex Reed

"Fresh . . . classy" — Vanity Fair

"Jack has performed for some of our most discerning clients, at landmark New York venues, and always adds just the right touch.
He is easy to work with and, with his style and sophistication, is a great asset to any event."

- Gavin Strumpman, Eventquest

 

Jack Donahue has a long history of performing at private parties, events and weddings.  Jack and his team will work with you to weave him and his band into your event in just the right way, whether it's low-key background music at a cocktail party, Jack and his jazz ensemble welcoming your guests as they arrive, a sit-down performance while your guests are dining, or an 8-piece band for your guests to listen or dance to.  

Jack has headlined at some of the finest venues including The Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room, at Birdland with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Philadelphia's Museum of Arts, the Queen Elizabeth II's renowned World Cruise, Palm Beach's Colony Hotel, San Francisco's Plush Room, Regattabar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, and many others.

Examples of Jack's private events include:

  • An appearance with his eight-piece band for Gourmet Magazine's top clients at New York's famed Rainbow Room

  • An exclusive wedding reception high on the bluffs in Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

  • Welcoming guests with his trio at a retirement party for a prominent CEO at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA

  • Providing sophisticated background music for a Conde' Nast event at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City

  • Performing at the 80th birthday gala of a leading entrepreneur in Charlottesville, VA

  • Singing at the wedding reception of a Boston-area restauranteur, held at blu restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Towers, Boston, MA

  • Providing a cabaret-style performance of jazz classics at a Berlin film festival

  • Performing specially-chosen songs, either solo or with a band, at numerous weddings and other special events
     

Jack's recordings represent only a small sample of the songs he knows and has performed.  He knows hundreds of songs from the "Great American Songbook".

If you'd like to discuss involving Jack in your special event, contact Richard Carson at +1-917-981-0073

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PRESS

REX REED, NY OBSERVER

“Handsome and personable, with his musical pores wide open, Mr. Donahue is going places fast.”

—Rex Reed, New York Observer

 

"Surrender to Jack Donahue-- he will haunt you. . . . fresh and captivating . . . astoundingly imaginative. I have played ("A Small Blue Thing") about 20 times in a row and I am haunted by what I'm hearing"
—Rex Reed, New York Observer

JAZZ TIMES AND ALL ABOUT JAZZ

“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.”
—Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times

“...(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

“Possessed of a beautiful voice, taste beyond his years, and a wide-ranging intelligence, the handsome New Yorker shows that this sophisticated art form is not just alive and well but thriving.”
—Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

“Donahue is one of the most entertaining and engaging young singers around. He’s got good looks and a beautiful voice, (and) a genuine point of view.”
—Waymon Wong, New York Daily News

TIME OUT NEW YORK

“Leave it to an Irishman to make sorrow sing.”

—Time Out New York

PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

“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.”

—Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News

WICN RADIO

“Top ten pick 2005.… Wonderful. A beautiful voice and wonderful delivery. So refreshing to hear a great male vocalist. Donahue is a rare breed.”

—WICN: New England’s Jazz Station

BOSTON GLOBE, PALM BEACH POST, OAKLAND TRIBUNE

“Boston Globe Quick Pick: “He’s got it covered. Say hello to Jack Donahue.… Fresh-faced jazz newcomer.”
—Meredith Goldstein, Boston Globe

“Donahue’s much-admired tenor voice is as warm as his personality.…Attractive shading more often associated with … Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, and Shirley Horn. Chameleon-like, from dark and smoky to cool and husky.”
—Sharon McDaniel, Palm Beach Post

“Strange Weather is perfectly sunny going. Donahue has eclectic musical taste … an asset when you’re blending jazz.… Donahue swings gently and with a wry sense of humor. But it’s on the ballads … that Donahue’s supple voice soars.”
—Chad Jones, The Oakland Tribune

 

CHICAGO SUN TIMES

 

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