Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
Terrific display of musicianship
Gontroppo | Bathurst, NSW Australia | 02/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a great showcase for the talents of Cleo Laine, her husband Johnny Dankworth and the other writers and performers. It allows us to hear Cleo's effortless use of her 4 octave range voice [sometimes in the one song: check out her version of the Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn setting of the sonnet Take All My Loves] in "songs comic and serious." Many of the tracks are settings of Shakespeare. The album includes terrific songs by Johnny Dankworth, including his humorous retelling of the story of Macbeth [Dunsinane Blues] and the entire list of Shakespeare's plays [The Compleat Works, which is all over in under 2 minutes!]He has also written some contemplative material, such as the opening track All the World's A Stage. There are other earlier Shakespeare settings by Arthur Young, and also great songs based on poetry by John Betjeman, Rupert Brooke, ee cummings and even Spike Milligan.I am so pleased the CD has not been deleted. Anyone who loves poetry, jazz or both will love this album.Highly recommended."
Re-recording of classic 1964. album
Sasha | at sea...sailing somewhere | 04/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cleo Laine always had great affinity for poetry and her connections with Shakespeare go way back in 1950s when she recorded "It was a lover and his lass" for the very first time,with a young and chirpy voice that would later change a great deal into now-legendary husky contra-alto.
Her husband John Dankworth eventually composed the whole LP "Shakespeare and all that Jazz" in 1964. which was singled out as one of the best jazz albums of the year in "Downbeat" and brought some really glowing reviews for than-unknown UK singer (it would take a decade before she would finally step on Carnegie Hall stage and had a proper introduction to USA audience).
Original "Shakespeare and all that jazz" -now out of print for a long time - was a rare thing of beauty and Laine's voice in 1964 was at its peak.Most of the music was composed by Dankworth but there was also a friendly nod to Duke Ellington who already did his Shakespeare trubute in "Such Sweet Thunder" and what was sax solo for Ellington became famous vocal firework for Laine who sang "Take all my loves" the way sax played it,thrills and all.
Many years later - 14 years exactly - when this fabulous UK couple already became known across the planet,they returned to this excellent album and re-recorded everything again but also added poetry by other artists,often funny and comical,like "Tell me the truth about love" and "English teeth" so original album became actually double LP and it can still be found on CD.
The idea behind re-recording everything again was explanation that with all public performances of Shakespeare songs,Laine felt herself even more experienced now and wanted to do it properly. It is my opinion that nothing matches her voice from decade ago,so if you can,get original "Shakespeare and all that jazz" album because she sounds better - curiously enough,her voice was better in 1964. but same songs are better ACTED this time around,so everybody will find their own favourites.
Music-wise it is very interesting,sparkling and unusual - perhaps even eccentric on occasions - exception from usual same old Gershwin-Porter songbook material and I only wish other singers followed this direction,it clearly shows that marriage of music and poetry can be very effective and when done properly and with love & respect,even Shakespeare can swing.
Laine's vocal version of famous "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" is highlight and centerpiece here,slow and introspective ballad with soft instrumental backing,her voice clear like a mountain lake,everything crisp and clear eyed,true beauty."