Mathis on Broadway

Mathis on Broadway

4.5 2
by Johnny Mathis
     
 

Johnny Mathis extends his reign as America's premier balladeer with MATHIS ON BROADWAY, the velvet-throated singer's first anthology of show tunes in four decades. The legendary 64-year-old crooner has seemingly stopped time on this delightful collection culled from some of the Great White Way's biggest hits of the last 20 years. Kicking off with a jaunty "On Broadway… See more details below

Overview

Johnny Mathis extends his reign as America's premier balladeer with MATHIS ON BROADWAY, the velvet-throated singer's first anthology of show tunes in four decades. The legendary 64-year-old crooner has seemingly stopped time on this delightful collection culled from some of the Great White Way's biggest hits of the last 20 years. Kicking off with a jaunty "On Broadway," from SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, the eclectic program includes Stephen Sondheim's exquisite "Loving You" from 1994's PASSION, the heartrending "Bring Him Home" from LES MISERABLES, the African-flavored percussive worldbeat of The Lion King's "They Live In You" and JEKYLL & HYDE's delicately wistful "Once Upon a Dream." Guests include Betty Buckley, the vocal ensemble Forever Plaid, and Nell Carter, who adds a soulful simmer to "Seasons of Love" from the Pulitzer Prize-winning RENT. With Mathis sounding this reenergized, it's now up to contemporary Broadway to provide him with more quality songs.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Though Johnny Mathis has recorded many individual songs from Broadway musicals over the years, the last time he devoted an entire album to them was 1960's The Rhythms and Ballads of Broadway, and the geography of the street has changed a lot since then. The Broadway of 2000 is a tourist attraction boasting a variety of kinds of musicals that were not available 40 years ago: oversized European operettas like Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera and American copycats like Jekyll & Hyde; Disney extravaganzas like The Lion King; retrospective anthology shows like Fosse; and rock musicals like Rent, along with revues of old rock & roll songs like Smokey Joe's Café. It is music from such disparate sources that Mathis combines on Mathis on Broadway, fearlessly crossing barriers of style and quality. Wisely, he gets the ringers out of the way up front. "On Broadway," despite its title, is a 1963 pop song interpolated in Smokey Joe's Café, but it comes from an era Mathis is comfortable with and it serves as an excellent introduction. "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" is a Broadway song, first heard in the 1931 edition of George White's Scandals, though its reason for being here is its inclusion in Fosse, and Mathis' playful reading is accompanied by the quartet from the show Forever Plaid. The rest of the album consists of songs actually written for and included in musicals of the '80s and '90s, and Mathis successfully smoothes over the wildly divergent styles, singing Stephen Sondheim's "Loving You" from Passion as though it were a simpler, more tuneful song than it is, using "They Live in You" from The Lion King as a exotic change of pace, lowering the key of "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables so that it no longer sounds like a vocal exercise for a castrato. One of Mathis' talents has always been an ability to incorporate many different styles into his own; for a non-rock singer who emerged in the rock era, it's been a necessity. Here, that talent serves to make the music of Frank Wildhorn, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Jonathan Larson sound like it all belongs on the same musical street, just as those composers' shows have occupied the same square mile of property in New York City. It's a sleight of hand, of course, and that may be one reason why Mathis on Broadway is so short, running only 33 minutes, which, for a new, full-priced CD, is very skimpy. Maybe Mathis just couldn't find any more songs without exploding the album's fragile concept. (Okay, it's more likely that song publishing royalties kept the tune count down.) In any case, the lesser talents among the composers -- Lloyd Webber, Wildhorn, Claude-Michel Schönberg -- owe Mathis a debt for making their music sound so good, while Sondheim can be grateful that Mathis makes him sound so accessible.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/25/2000
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646389720
catalogNumber:
63897

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Mathis   Primary Artist,Vocals
Betty Buckley   Track Performer
Alex Acuña   Percussion
Rev. Dave Boruff   Saxophone
Susan Boyd   Choir, Chorus
Jorge Calandrelli   Conductor
Paulinho Da Costa   Percussion
Chuck Domanico   Bass
Nathan East   Bass
Jens Engel   Vocals
Jim Gilstrap   Choir, Chorus
Angie Jaree   Choir, Chorus
Jon Joyce   Choir, Chorus
Ronald Kunene   Choir, Chorus
Bobbi Page   Choir, Chorus
Dean Parks   Guitar
Joseph Powell   Choir, Chorus
John "J.R." Robinson   Drums
Neil Stubenhaus   Bass
Sally Stevens   Choir, Chorus
Efrain Toro   Percussion
Jonathan Tunick   Conductor
Carmen Twillie   Choir, Chorus
Randy Waldman   Piano,Keyboards
Maxine Willard Waters   Background Vocals
Luther Waters   Choir, Chorus
Oren Waters   Background Vocals
Terry Wood   Choir, Chorus
Hlengiwe Dlamini   Choir, Chorus
Jason Graae   Vocals
Lebo M.   Conductor,Choir Conductor
Julia Waters   Vocals,Background Vocals
William Ross   Conductor
Lindiwe Dlamini   Choir, Chorus
Leo Daignault   Vocals
Lindiwe Hlengwa   Choir, Chorus
Nell Carter   Track Performer
Nandi S. Morake   Choir, Chorus
Orin Walters   Vocals
Nokukhanya Dlamini   Choir, Chorus
Jorge Clandrelli   Conductor
Ntombikhona DLamini   Choir, Chorus
Anthony Manough   Choir, Chorus
Philip McAdoo   Choir, Chorus
Rema Webb   Choir, Chorus
Ginger Freers   Choir, Chorus
Jeffrey Polk   Choir, Chorus
Rich Logan   Choir, Chorus
Megan Cavallari   Choir, Chorus,Choir Conductor

Technical Credits

Robbie Buchanan   Vocal Production Assistance
Jorge Calandrelli   Arranger,Producer
Kevin Clark   Engineer,Engineering
John Hendrickson   Engineer
Jay Landers   Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Charles Paakkari   Engineer
Doug Sax   Mastering
Schmitt   Engineer,Engineering
Jonathan Tunick   Arranger,Producer
Randy Waldman   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Engineering
Frank Wolf   Engineer,Engineering
Lebo M.   Arranger,Producer,Choir Arrangement
Peter Fletcher   Contributor
Bill Smith   Producer,Engineer
William Ross   Arranger,Producer
Laura Grover   Liner Notes
Christine Wilson   Art Direction
Richard Jay-Alexander   Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Lenny LaCroix   Rehearsal Accompanist
John Sorenson   Engineer
Alan Sanderson   Engineer
Jenny Knotts   Engineer
Matthew Della Pola   Scoring Coordinator
Jorge Clandrelli   Arranger,Producer
Ray Bardini   Engineering
James McCrone   Engineer
Megan Cavallari   Arranger,Choir Arrangement

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