Reviews of Concert DVD's and Video albums by Vocal Standards Artists

 The life story of an amazing man…

…woven into a superb documentary. In Johnny Mercer: The Dream’s on Me Special Edition DVD, Clint Eastwood and Bruce Ricker simply perform magic.

Eastwood and Ricker distill Johnny Mercer’s almost unimaginably  successful career, and life into an immersive 90 minute “Mercer Experience” theme park ride … rich with the nuance and anecdotes of Johnny’s contemporaries and ambient with the music that made Mercer THE singular singer/songwriter of an era.

I’m saying it…

So, I think we should get this out of the way right up front … Johnny Mercer was the best, the absolute best singer/songwriter in the Great American Songbook era (from the ’30s to the ’70s) and — in my opinion — still remains atop the long and distinguished list of great popular standards lyricists.

Johnny may not have written the Great American Songbook single handedly, but he had lots to say in virtually every chapter. Whether swing or jazz; Broadway or Hollywood; waltzes or war ditties; love songs, torch numbers or the blues … whatever page the book falls open to Mercer is there. [Read more…]

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After a flurry of activity…

…through the middle of the last decade, Peter has pretty much gone off the CD release grid. Starting with his self titled debut album in 2003, Cincotti lured me in with his superb jazz piano arrangements of standards, and some very fine original material.

He stepped up his game with two more albums and a DVD release … then nothing for the last three years — damn Peter, your killing me! [Read more…]

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Copyright Decca Records

A follow-up to my recent post on Nikki Yanofsky’s live Austin performance  with a quick review of some of her recorded material.

The NIKKI album is the centerpiece of her available music at this writing (Summer 2011). It features a mix of Nikki’s signature standards work intermixed with a sprinkling of original pieces. As I mentioned in the live performance review, I think Nikki shines best through her swinging delivery of Ella Fitzgerald styled standards (“I Got Rhythm”, “Take The ‘A’ Train” and “You’ll Have To Swing It (Mr. Paganini)” being the standouts on this album. Nikki knocks it out of the park with these songs — more than just comfortable with the style, her delivery is deft and precise but also joyfully evokes the spirit of this music. Ella would be (is) proud. [Read more…]

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