Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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Mandy in a manic mood.
Bob Zeidler | Charlton, MA United States | 12/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can remember the occasion with perfect clarity, if not the actual date. Keith Lockhart had just been appointed as the replacement for John Williams as conductor of the Boston Pops, and the occasion was the PBS broadcast of his premiere "Evening at Pops" concert.
The guest artists were Sylvia McNair, Mandy Patinkin and Doc Severinson. After a few decades of watching Doc on Johnny Carson's "Tonite Show," I held no high expectations for Doc's contribution, and he didn't disappoint me. On the other hand, I was (and still am) a big fan of Sylvia McNair, who sang a grouping of pop and jazz classics memorably. I remember remarking to my wife that Sylvia was my main reason for watching the concert broadcast, to which she remarked, "You ain't seen nuttin yet!" Or something like that; the paraphrase is certainly accurate enough for purposes of my comments here.
Prior to this concert, I knew who Mandy Patinkin was, but "just barely." I recalled with a little wistfulness the Original B'way Cast Album of "Evita" (a 2-CD set that had been lost or misplaced but never replaced). And I enjoyed Mandy in Rob Reiner's classic "The Princess Bride." But that was about it.
As matters turned out, Mandy was the last guest to appear, after Sylvia (thereby making my wife's prophecy, well, prophetic). The guy just bowled me over; can't put it any more succinctly than that.
About half of the songs Mandy sang at that concert were from this "Experiment" album, and the balance from his eponymous "Mandy Patinkin" album. This is the newer by about five years, and on balance the better of the two. But not by all that much: Both albums are excellent. This one DOES get more playing time, however, so much so that I now simply refer to it as "the yellow album" (thanks to the color of the CD printing).
Unquestionably, Mandy Patinkin is an "acquired taste." He has a distinctive style - perhaps too distinctive for some - in which his singing seems to be divisible into two ranges (a light falsetto tenor and a husky baritone). Well, I acquired it just by watching that Boston Pops concert. And took the trouble to follow up on Mandy's stage and singing career, and found that I also liked the guy simply for what he stood for: Family ahead of personal career gain and all that good stuff.
There IS a downside to having heard him at that Pops concert. Now, unfortunately, I can't remember for the life of me what the titles of the songs were that Sylvia McNair had sung at that concert. I guess I'll just have to "go to the videotape."
Sub-Patinkin is Still Grand
John Connors | Succasunna, NJ | 03/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As an admitted Patinkin acolyte, I have to place this album at the bottom of his ouvre. As much as I love the song selection, and the very subtle procession of the "character" throughout, I have some quibbles that I don;t have with his other albums. On most of his CD's to date, Patinkin will do at least one song with an arrangement strikingly different from the song's "classic" one. For example, on "Mandy Patinkin" the arrangement of Anyone Can Whistle broke very cleanly with the one used countless times. At first, that example annoyed me as well, but once I got used to hearing a different arrangement I grew quite fond of it. Not so with "Experiments" Good Thing Going. I think, in his attempt to not do the traditional, simple piano based arrangement, the song has been ruined. And I love the song. My other complaint is more far-reaching. The hushed style used throughout, with nary a hint of the lung busting Patinkin howl that I hold so dear, was, I think, a mistake. I understand that it does serve as an answer to the critics: "no, I don't have to belt every song." But, I think it makes the album a bit monotonous, and causes a few missed oppurtunities, especially with the begg-ing-to-be-belted God on High, from Les Miserables. Overall, of course, I still enjoy the album and would reccomend it in a second. Just after his other four, that's all."
Unusually light for Mandy Patinkin, but still wonderful
John Connors | 03/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of course, it would be a challenge for me to call anything Mandy Patinkin sings less than wonderful. But that said, this is still a terrific example of his talents. Granted, it's softer, less intense than usual -- as I've seen it called, _Experiment_ is Mandy Lite. The first three songs have always seemed sleepy to me, though his voice is still amazing in them; several of the songs just don't seem distinct from all the rest to me, again, because of that same almost "sleepy" air to them. There are none of the "cries" that almost always work their way into at least one or two of the songs on each of his albums, and he only goes back over the lyrics for emphasis once, in "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" Usually, he does that more. However, this is the perfect showcase of Mandy's voice in all its tenor glory -- he gives a splendid rendition of "Bring Him Home," the classic song of high tenors, and he hits some startlingly high notes, startlingly well, in such numbers as "Something's Coming" and "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" In my opinion, this album might fare better with more songs like "Multitudes of Amys," which is done with fantastic emotion. All in all, though, _Experiment_ is fantastic, well worth the five stars I gave it, and a must-have for any Mandy Patinkin fan."