Jazz at Lincoln Center is bringing classic American popular song into its fold with the appointment of the singer and pianist Michael Feinstein as director of its new popular music series. Mr. Feinstein will create three programs as well as a family event, all focusing on the relationship between jazz and songwriting, for the spring of 2011. The concerts will be in the Allen Room in Frederick P. Rose Hall, at Broadway and 60th Street.
The announcement is to be made on Monday night at Jazz at Lincoln Centers fall gala, A Celebration of the Music of Frank Sinatra, featuring Mr. Feinstein and his guest, Diahann Carroll, performing Sinatra standards with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It is the culmination of a three-year artistic courtship between Mr. Feinstein and Wynton Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The two were introduced at an Apollo Theater fund-raising gala in 2006 by Lisa Schiff, the chairwoman of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
It seemed like kind of a natural fit, Ms. Schiff said. Michael is such an archivist, and Wynton was intrigued by that.
The popular music program, which is distinct from Lincoln Centers American Songbook series, is part of a larger plan to broaden programming at Jazz at Lincoln Center by bringing in what Mr. Marsalis called the pods of jazz. Over the long term it will incorporate separate blues and gospel arms in addition to popular song.