Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cortés Alexander, Liza Minnelli: To perform for filmed concert at MGM Grand Las Vegas

Cortés Alexander's Swell debut solo album cover.

September 9, 1:58 AM Las Vegas Local Music ExaminerPaul Lavell

Cortés Alexander, perhaps best known from the vocal groups The Tonics and his own Cortés Alexander Trio, will be performing along side Liza Minnelli inside the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from September 25 – 30.
Joining Alexander will be Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers, who will support Liza Minnelli as the new Williams Brothers – a tribute to a nightclub act Kay Thompson created in the late 1940’s and early ‘50’s – in a filmed concert called Liza’s At The Palace.
Cortés Alexander grew up in Los Angeles, but had moved to New York when he was 13. His mother, a fashion designer, had her own shop on Madison Avenue that she ran for 15 years. While in New York, Alexander had attended the prestigious performing arts conservatory, Julliard, however, he would only last one semester.
Julliard was “very regimented” and he had other things that he wanted to do. “I wanted to surf and skateboard,” Alexander says. After leaving Julliard, he went to a high school that was attended by dancers, singers and actors that catered to the academic schedules around extracurricular activities which had suited Alexander much better. Consequently, he was exposed “to a real wide range of cultures.”
Cortés Alexander's Swell debut solo album cover
Cortés said that he didn’t start singing until he was around 17 or 18. “I started playing [the piano] for friends at their auditions,” Alexander says, when he was told that his voice “...was not bad. You should sing.” But his real “ah-ha” moment was when he closed a production program at his high school and the crowd was ecstatic.
Some of the singers that inspired Alexander were Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme, however, his natural voice is low, and it is Jim Morrison that he has mentioned as an inspiration often because they shared the same octave.
Released on March 16, 2009, Cortés Alexander’s debut solo album, Swell, is a combination of smooth vocals and a mixture of pop, jazz, and R&B. “I didn’t intend to make something for everyone,” Alexander explains. “I wanted to make a record, for a lack of a better word, of music that I thought was really good.”
‘Really good’ is quite an understatement. With the production talents of McKay Garner, who has worked with several top artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Bublé and Flogging Molly, to name just a few, Alexander credits Garner for finding the sound that makes Swell what it is. The album contains 16 songs including three covers and 10 originals by Alexander himself who says that every song on the album has a story.
Roam, for instance, was originally recorded by the The B52’s. “I had this idea,” Alexander recalls. “I remember seeing [the Shakespeare play] Twelfth Night. The fool sang (he sings ‘O mistress mine, where are you roaming?’) and I loved it. Roam worked our perfectly.” The other covers include The Monkees classic Last Train to Clarksville and the first song recorded with Garner, The Association’s Never My Love.
Among Alexander’s originals are two songs that hit close to home. The Parade was inspired by his half brother “...who had a hard time with drugs and alcohol,” he explains.
He was homeless living in New York...I was in SoHo and the sky literally started getting gray and it began to rain. As I looked up I see this guy with a shopping cart. I sped up and as we brushed we made eye to eye contact. It was my brother. I kept on walking, but I knew he had known it was me.
Pilot Bird is about his mother. “My mom was living with me in time was going by she was becoming forgetful,” Alexander says. As it turned out his mother has early onset Alzheimer’s, but is doing well and currently living in Florida.
Alexander had started his album three years ago. One day as he was driving down Santa Monica Boulevard after a dentist appointment he sees this Rolls Royce on the opposite side of the street and noticed Liza Minnelli was behind the wheel. After making eye contact with one another, Liza says to Cortés, ‘Follow me!’
He turns around and they parked their cars. “We had walked up and down Rodeo Drive, catching up,” Alexander says. After having some lunch and doing some shopping, he and Liza get into his car so he can play her some of his songs. “I had played ‘Love’ll Come & Do Just That’ for her and she says, ‘That’s wonderful baby! Just change the last note.” Love’ll Come & Do Just That was written by Helen Slater who starred as Supergirl in the 1984 film of the same name.
It was during this visit, Alexander says, that Liza had convinced him to go on the road with her once again.
’Do you want in?’ she asks me. I tell her that I’m working on this album and she says, ‘Come to the show and we’ll talk about it then.’
He went to New York that winter and toured with Liza for the next three years in the show that later became the Tony Award-winning (for Best Special Theatrical Event) Liza’s At The Palace.
When asked about if he would consider reuniting with The Tonics: “It’s funny you should ask that question at this particular time,” Alexander says with a laugh. “Now this just happened...We have kept in touch since we all moved to California...a producer contacts me through Facebook about getting together and I was like, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a shot.’...Last night was our first rehearsal.”
Cortés Alexander has known Liza Minnelli for 17 years and has performed with her on two tours for seven years. See them together again for the filming of Liza’s At The Palace inside the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas September 25th through 30th.
For tickets and show times, contact the MGM Grand Reservations at (866) 740-7711, or click here to order online.
For more information, check out the following web sites:
The Cortés Alexander Fan Club
Cortés Alexander's Official Web Site
Liza Minnelli's web page
To preview the songs from Swell, click here
Visit CD Baby to purchase Cortés Alexander's debut solo album Swell or you can download your favorite songs from the album by visiting iTunes under Cortes Alexander.

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