TV, Film and Stage Star Daniel Benzali Releases Unique Vocal Album of American Standards

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Contemporary Interpretations of Classic Songs

Familiar and much-loved face of TV, film and stage, Daniel Benzali has returned to his first love, music, on Benzali, his debut CD, released on the independent Rio Kat Records label and available online at http://www.cdbaby.com and http://www.danielbenzali.com.

Benzali is best known to television audiences for his critically acclaimed performance as the star of the groundbreaking TV series Murder One. Benzali received a Golden Globe nomination for his riveting portrayal of prominent defense attorney Ted Hoffman. Viewers are also familiar with Daniel’s striking performance in the recurring role of James Sinclair on NYPD Blue, beginning with the pilot episodes.

Since Murder One, he has appeared in dozens of movies, the latest being The Grey Zone, in which he co-stars with Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino and Steve Buscemi.

Daniel Benzali’s journey began in Rio de Janeiro, where he was born, and where his musical spirit first awakened. In the midst of his Rio childhood, his father decided to take the family to a new home, New York City. Suddenly a New Yorker, the young Benzali absorbed the city’s varied musical heartbeats as he grew into his teenage years.

During New York’s punk rock era, he became lead singer for several bands which had an enthusiastic club following in the city.

Meanwhile Mr. Benzali’s love of the theater led to appearances in various plays and musicals. When his band broke up, he decided to leave for London and develop his acting skills there.

London’s exciting fringe theater scene was then in full bloom, and Benzali quickly found himself happily in the middle of it, performing lead roles in the plays of this vanguard theatrical movement. His work soon led to a remarkable offer. Daniel was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company, a rare honor bestowed on very few American actors in the company’s history.

As a member of the RSC, Benzali’s work attracted the attention of, among others, the producers of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musical Evita. He was offered the co-starring role of Juan Peron in the magnificent London production.

When it came time for Lloyd-Webber to cast his new London musical Sunset Boulevard, he asked Benzali to fly to his villa in the south of France for a meeting about the new show. In the summer of that year, Sunset Boulevard received its world premiere in London with Benzali co-starring as Max opposite Patti Lupone’s Norma Desmond.

One year later Mr. Benzali was offered the role of Ted Hoffman in Murder One.

Now, with his album Benzali, Daniel returns to his original love, or as he sings in Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies,” just “singin’ a song.”

Engineered by multi-Grammy winning Al Schmitt and with contributions from young sax star Mindi Abair and guitarist Grant Geissman, Daniel re-discovers the musical spirit of Broadway with a new interpretation based on contemporary rhythms. “It’s a new expression of classic songs,” Benzali says, “that’s really the unifying spirit of the album.”

His distinctive vocal arrangements to chestnuts such as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “My Funny Valentine” lend an air of intimacy and romance, his soulful vocal delivery reminiscent of Aaron Neville or Sting.

“I left Rio, but Rio never left me,” Daniel writes in the liner notes. “The home of my soul is Rio, but the road back passes through the heart of Broadway.” On Benzali, the actor, the artist and the singer all come to life in these songs in an extraordinarily emotional way. From a man whose face you are familiar with, comes a voice you will be amazed by.

Daniel Benzali will be performing a series of live shows and TV appearances in support of the new album.

For more information, CD review copies or interview inquiries, please call John Sutton-Smith at 323-851-4720 or reply here: john@inspired.com

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