CLUB44 RECORDS have signed the married musical team of Julie Benko and Jason Yeager for their first duo album Hand in Hand. Benko is a singer and actress who is currently the stand-in for “Fanny Brice” on Broadway’s Funny Girl; she performed the role last weekend. Jason is an acclaimed jazz musician and composer who has performed in concert halls around the world. Hand in Hand includes theater classics (“People” from Funny Girl, “All I’ve Ever Known” from Hadestown), jazz standards (“The Nearness of You”) and pop classics (“Mercedes Benz “), in addition to Yeager’s original songs. Benko is featured on vocals, clarinet, flute and percussion, with Yeager playing Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Celeste, organ and percussion. The album is scheduled for release on Friday, August 26 to coincide with Benko’s previously scheduled next weekend of performances in Funny Girl.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to release our next album on Club44 Records,” says Julie Benko. “Jason and I spent the pandemic isolating ourselves together, essentially becoming each other’s only musical collaborator for a time. It was during this time — leading up to our marriage — that we developed most of these arrangements. I think the intimacy and joy of this moment is evident in every track on the record. We had so much fun discovering our own renditions of tunes from Broadway and The Great American Songbook, as well as recording two original compositions by Jason. This album is a true celebration of love for our community, for social justice, for theater, for music, for each other. I am so proud that Hand in Hand has found its musical house at Club44, and I can’t wait for the world to hear it!”
Joel Lindsey, co-founder and A&R director of Club44 Records, adds “A colleague sent me a rough recording of Hand in Hand and said, ‘I know you’re not really looking for someone new to sign. right now, but I’d love for you to listen. She was right; we had our hands full and our release schedule was stacked nicely as we wanted. But I listened to her anyway. third song I was hooked I started passing the project on to other colleagues asking them There are a lot of reasons a record company signs on to a project but in this case we just fell in love and, once we met them, we fell in love with Jason and Julie! you hear about Julie Benko and Jason Yeager, but I promise you it won’t be the last!”
JULIE BENKO is an award-winning actress, singer and writer based in New York. She has performed on stages on and off Broadway and across the country, including recent Broadway tours in Fiddler on the Roof and Les Miserables. She is the recipient of the Wilde Award for “Best Leading Actress in a Musical” for her performance as Girl in Once. She also received a BroadwayWorld Award nomination for “Best Lead Actress in a Musical” for her portrayal of Luisa in The Fantasticks, as well as Theater Bay Area Award and SF Critics Circle Award nominations for “Best Featured Actress in a musical” for Rags. In addition to lending her voice to the ceremonies of the 85th Academy Awards and the 70th Tony Awards, Julie won the Gold Medal and the Johnny Mercer Award at the national American Traditions Vocal competition. In the spring of 2021, she was named a semi-finalist of the international Lotte Lenya competition. Her first jazz album, Introducing Julie Benko, is currently available. Julie recently wrote, directed and starred in her first short film, “The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy”. The film won an honorable mention when it premiered in 2020 at the New Faces New Voices Film Festival. His first full-length play, The District, received a public reading at the Astoria Performing Arts Center in 2021 and is currently in development. She holds a BFA and MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. JulieBenko.com. Instagram/Twitter/TikTok @JujujulieBee
JASON YEAGER – the New York-based pianist, composer, recording artist and educator – creates deeply expressive and multi-faceted music, defying convention while reveling in the traditions of black American music, jazz, blues, from 20th century European classical music to Latin American folk music and traditions. This year he will also release Unstuck in Time: The Kurt Vonnegut Suite (Sunnyside Records) with his eponymous septet and special guest soloist Miguel Zenón. Yeager has released five albums of original music, including All at Onceness (called a “compelling new album” by the Boston Globe); United (named “Best Album of 2017” by Downbeat); and his latest, New Songs of Resistance. Yeager has performed across the United States at venues such as Carnegie Hall and Birdland, and internationally at festivals and concert halls in Argentina, South Africa, Panama, China, Republic Dominican and Costa Rica. A frequent accompanist and collaborator, he has played and/or recorded with such remarkable artists as Luciana Souza, Jason Anick, Ayn Inserto, Fleur Seul, Ran Blake, Sara Serpa, Noah Preminger, Ben Monder and Fernando Huergo, among others. Yeager is also a committed teacher, working with music students around the world as an assistant professor of piano at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught since 2012. He graduated with honors from the New England Conservatory/Tufts University Double Degree Program . , and holds a Master of Music degree with honors from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. JasonYeager.com. Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Tiktok @JYeagerMusic
CLUB44 RECORDS – based in the Music City of Nashville, Tennessee – is a new independent label that aims to showcase the genres of Broadway, cabaret and jazz, preserve the American Songbook and provide a home for artists who represent this music timeless. Following their first studio release, Christmas at Birdland, the label presented Love Notes, the latest album from Tony Award and Golden Globe winner Linda Lavin; Grammy Award-winning Billy’s Place by Billy Stritch; Act One by rising voice star Nicolas King; Jane Monheit’s Come What May, which celebrates the Billboard’s #1 international pop/jazz singer’s 20th anniversary as a recording artist; Spencer Day’s Broadway by Day, highlighting the creative arrangements of theatrical standards; and Carol Sloane’s Live at Birdland, an intimate set captured in the legendary location. Club44 Records also serves as the creative home for many other singers, instrumentalists and writers. All releases are distributed digitally through Universal Music Group and at retail by Provident/Sony. Club44Records.com