- CHARITY BENEFIT
Written by: Linda Amiel Burns
Before Danny Aiello’s two sold out shows on Sept. 28 at The Iridium, the audience was treated to film clips from some of the 80 plus movies that he has starred in. When Danny was introduced, we heard the strains off stage of “Besame Mucho” and he entered singing, walking through the house crooning to his adoring fans. Most of us know Danny as a legendary actor, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated, but about 10 years ago he began a serious singing career, appearing in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, The House of Blues, The Apollo theater to name a few and recording four highly successful CD’s.
Fulfilling this lifelong dream has not come easy or been without bumps in the road. He told the story of singing as a kid and his proud mother arranging an audition with Arthur Godfrey’s talent competition. At the audition, before he was to go on, Danny said to his mom that he had to go to the bathroom; he left and never returned. He didn’t sing again until he was asked to do a duet with Bruce Willis in Hudson Hawk and sing in Once Around. However, singing live was another matter.
I have known Danny most of my life, my cousin Joe Amiel (one of Danny’s closest friends) and I met him when he was a bouncer at Budd Friedman’s Improv. He and his wife Sandy are like family. Over the years, he attended many performances of The Singing Experience, the workshop that I created and have been directing since 1977. One day, Danny said to me, “if these people can do it, I certainly can!”
This interest and desire had been brewing inside him for quite some time and he threw himself into this career with the same passion that he has for acting, proving that it is never too late to pursue your dream and follow your heart.
Eight masterful musicians accompanied Danny, his swinging jazz band, led by musical director, Joe Geary on drums who he affectionately calls, “Joe Geary & the Guys.” He sang some songs from his CDs such as “All of Me,” “The Lady in Red,” “This Magic Moment” and “Save The Last Dance For Me” (Doc Pomus) . A standout medley of the 1952 hit “Congratulations To Someone” paired with “I Won’t Cry Anymore” allowed Danny to display his fine acting ability which he also used for the Arlen/Mercer standard “One For My Baby.” Danny’s voice has gotten smoother and stronger over the years and his great strength is in the musical styling, his unique phrasing, making each song an acting monologue set to music.
Between songs, Danny talked about his early years, marrying young, having four children and the many jobs that he had before making his film debut at age 37 in Bang The Drum Slowly with Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarty. One of his jobs was with Greyhound as an announcer and Danny brilliantly recited the list of the many cities that was on the Eastern seaboard route! Danny is very comfortable on the stage and his love of performing is so infectious that the audience cannot help but have the time of their lives…… he even invites them to sing along with him.
One of the singers that Danny was influenced by was Bobby Darin and he sang a swinging rendition of “Beyond The Sea” (La Mer) as the closing number, coming back for the encore was a terrific arrangement of “Clementine.” Danny connects with his audience on a very personal level and the special man and artist that he is comes through in his performances. He has become a topnotch entertainer, a real showman, and it is little wonder that he is in high demand and that his singing career has taken off!
For more information and updates on Danny Aiello’s performances,
visit: www.dannyaiello.com or contact Tracey Miller at email@example.com.
*Live performance photos: Stephen Sorokoff