Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Brian Stokes Mitchell|
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Genres: Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
It's well known that the majority of musical-theater stars are women; save for a few exceptions (The Producers, for instance), most of the glory parts are written for them, and they're the ones who elicit fan worship. Bria... more »
It's well known that the majority of musical-theater stars are women; save for a few exceptions (The Producers, for instance), most of the glory parts are written for them, and they're the ones who elicit fan worship. Brian Stokes Mitchell is among the rare male leads to attract the same kind of following. Few men have his easy-going charisma or his velvety pipes. Thanks to his long-overdue debut solo album (six years in the making), we now know he has even more skills than we suspected: Mitchell produced the CD, wrote the arrangements for several songs, and even conducted the orchestra on a pair of tracks. The repertoire itself isn't that unexpected, but the arrangements lean more toward lite jazz (chimes, lots of chimes) than Broadway. The singer's MO is embodied by a medley of Stephen Sondheim's "Another Hundred People" and Duke Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train." Overall the results are hit or miss, though Mitchell is such a great singer that even the misses are honorable. Opener "Something's Coming" start things off shakily, but Mitchell picks up with "The Best Is Yet to Come" and especially "Just in Time" and "How Long Has This Been Going On?" (on which he recalls Al Jarreau in his prime). The album concludes with John Bucchino's "Grateful," a pat inspirational number which Mitchell infuses with fervor. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Who Is This For?
G. Schneider | VA United States | 04/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Those who know who Brian Stokes Mitchell is (and if you don't, chances are you wouldn't buy this album), know him as the possessor of one of the most glorious baritone voices in popular music. Witness his performances in KISS ME KATE and MAN OF LA MANCHA, among others. Those fans (I among them) would expect his eponymous album to feature that voice. Wrong! Mr. Mitchell produced this album himself, so apparently this is the side of himself that he wants us to listen to and appreciate. He sings mostly in his upper register and underplays everything. In other words, very un-Brian Stokes Mitchell, very un-Broadway.
The arrangements (many by him) are overwrought, with extended phrases all over the place. (I still can't figure out if "Pretty Women" from SWEENEY TODD is in three or four.) "Something's Coming" loses all its steam by being tricked out in these added beats and measures.
It's one thing to do something original with Broadway standards. It worked beautifully for Barbra Streisand back in the 80s with her THE BROADWAY ALBUM. In fact, it's admirable to be original. But not at the expense of the material.
That's why I ask the question, "Who is this for?" His fan base is primarily Broadway. So why, on his first album, go against what his fans expect? Why not do the expected...then follow it up with "this is what I really want to sound like"?"
Picked the wrong songs
Amos C. Thomas | ohio | 01/08/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Got this after hearing brian stokes on the south pacfic album. He was great with those songs, this one has one or two good ones that show his voice."