Jazz Album - Watch What Happens

Jazz Album - Watch What Happens

3.0 2
by Thomas Quasthoff

Unsurpassed in classical lieder, Thomas Quasthoff lends his rich bass-baritone to the Great American Songbook on The Jazz Album -- Watch What Happens, backed by an ace pickup band that includes trumpeter Till Brönner and pianist Alan Broadbent. While it may be newsSee more details below


Unsurpassed in classical lieder, Thomas Quasthoff lends his rich bass-baritone to the Great American Songbook on The Jazz Album -- Watch What Happens, backed by an ace pickup band that includes trumpeter Till Brönner and pianist Alan Broadbent. While it may be news to followers of his classical work, the German-born Quasthoff is actually an old hand at this kind of singing -- he held regular nightclub gigs in his youth -- and the experience shines through on standards like "My Funny Valentine" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," displaying proficient English, impeccable technique, and a deep, velvety tone. Rhythmically, Quasthoff plays it fairly straight, delivering renditions of up-tempo classics like "They All Laughed" and "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" that may be light on swing but reveal the versatile singer's obvious devotion to this wonderful music.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
The great German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has done some astonishing things in his career, even appearing on-stage in the role of Amfortas in Wagner's Parsifal. This, though, has to be the widest left turn that Quasthoff has made yet, a "jazz" album of 12 American pop standards. Yeah, sure, other classical singers have done it, often with crossover dollars or Euros in mind, almost always with laughably pompous, treacly or condescending results. Quasthoff claims that he had experience singing jazz per se early in his career, but so did singers like Kiri Te Kanawa and Renée Fleming -- neither of whom sound convincing in pop. So how does Quasthoff manage to succeed in this venture where others do not? For one thing, there is nothing resembling operatic or lieder feeling in his delivery. His English diction is perfect, and yet his rich, deep, resonant timbre is intact, arrestingly so. Herb Jeffries or Johnny Hartman are the closest reference points, but Quasthoff doesn't copy either of them. When Quasthoff raises his voice to a big climax on Stevie Wonder's "You And I," he doesn't sound like a classical singer; there's a edge and grit at the top that an impassioned pop vocalist would be more likely to bring. He doesn't improvise, but he can comfortably bend a swinging inflection now and then; one imagines that he has imbibed heavily from the fountain of Sinatra. The only serious criticism is that sometimes Quasthoff's treatment of the line sounds a bit stiff and unyielding. Perhaps if he had recorded in the same room with the band, the real-time contact with real-life jazzers would have loosened him up some. In any case, Quasthoff gets a first-class production from Till Brönner, who also contributes some crackling or moody-Miles trumpet solos in spots. The arrangements feature either a studio big band or the luxurious Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, with Alan Broadbent (who redeems "Secret Love" with an appealing bossa nova treatment) and Nan Schwartz exchanging chart action, spelled by Steve Gray's New Orleans second-line jiggling of "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive."
BBC Music Magazine - Barry Witherden
Quasthoff's love and, more important, understanding of the material is clear.... Tasteful, well-wrought interpretations of outstanding songs.
Wall Street Journal - Barrymore Laurence Scherer
The marvel is that Mr. Quasthoff's jazz singing is not just at the stylistic antipodes from his Lieder singing, but idiomatically so right. With impeccable timing and phrasing, he insouciantly tosses off these songs, leaning into just the right notes of each phrase.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Deutsche Grammophon


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Thomas Quasthoff   Primary Artist,Vocals,Brass Baritone
Alan Broadbent   Piano
Peter Erskine   Percussion,Drums
Gary Foster   Alto Saxophone
Richard Todd   French Horn,Soloist
Dieter Ilg   Bass,Double Bass
Till Brönner   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Brass,Soloist
Chuck Loeb   Guitar,Soloist
Frank Chastenier   fender rhodes
Ruud Breuls   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Karl Schloz   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Nan Schwartz   Conductor
Fiete Felsch   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Clemens Linder   Violin
Annemarie Moorcroft   Viola
Marcus Bartelt   Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Günter Bollmann   Trombone
Axel Schlosser   Trumpet
Uli Plettendorff   Trombone
Andreas Maile   Clarinet,Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin   Performing Ensemble
Nan Schwartz Mishkin   Conductor
Members of Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin   Ensemble

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Alan Broadbent   Arranger
Michel Legrand   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer,Lyricist
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Alan Bergman   Composer,Lyricist
Marilyn Bergman   Composer,Lyricist
Till Brönner   Producer,Vocal Engineer,Engineering
Eddie DeLange   Composer,Lyricist
Duke Ellington   Composer
Sammy Fain   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer,Lyricist
Steve Gray   Arranger
Bernie Grundman   Mastering
Lorenz Hart   Composer,Lyricist
Alan Jay Lerner   Composer,Lyricist
Johnny Mercer   Composer,Lyricist
Doug Schwartz   Engineer,Engineering
Frank Wolf   Engineer,Engineering
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Frederick Loewe   Composer
Jim Rakete   Cover Photo
DuBose Heyward   Composer,Lyricist
Fred Munzmaier   Art Direction
Stewart Spencer   translation,Liner Note Translation
Nan Schwartz   Arranger
Tobias Lehmann   Engineer,Engineering
Wolf Kampmann   Liner Notes
Pino Brönner   Executive Producer
Michael Schöbel   Executive Producer
Walter Lichte   Legal Advisor
Oliver Schäfer   Legal Advisor
John Turner   Lyricist
Hartmut Bender   Executive Producer
Christopher Paul Lang   Lyricist
Michael Scholl   Executive Producer
Adrian von Ripka   Engineer,Engineering
Geoffrey Parsons   Composer,Lyricist

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