Sunday, June 17, 2012

Liza Minelli's Classic Winter Garden Performances

Liza Minnelli’s legendary Columbia album Live at the Winter Garden album has long been unavailable because of contractual conflicts over performance of songs from the Cabaret score infringed on the then-current soundtrack album. Under the Masterworks Broadway imprint Sony has issued this album with a few previously unissued selections in its Legends of Broadway series of recordings.

Minnelli, like her mother Judy Garland, is one of the great singers of theater and stage and on this recording she is supported by a superb orchestra with terrific arrangements that certainly made for a smashing show on Broadway from which these performances represented a slice of her month long stay at the Broadway theatre.

Clive Barnes contemporaneous New York Times remarked about Minnelli having a “voice that can purr, whisper, snarl and soar.” Listening to this recording, one finds Barnes description quite apt. There are some terrific renditions of standards like Shine On Harvest Moon, and More Than You Know, along with interpretations of Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind, Bobby Hebb’s Natural Man, Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now, and Stevie Wonder’s You and I, selections from Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour, and songs from John Kander and Fred Ebb including new ones in addition to selections from Cabaret.

There is a brilliance and so much personality invested in the music by Minnelli. This is not simply a lovely, sweet rendition of classic songs, but interpretations Minnelli not simply places her own interpretative stamp, but provides us with a recording that is timeless like other great interpreters of song like Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand. Liza Minnelli’s Live at the Winter Garden is a classic American recording that is lovingly restored and available again.

I received my review copy from a publicist.

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