"As "crossover" albums go -- although that's probably an unfortunate way to pigeon-hole it -- "So Many Stars" is one of my all-time favorites. Whether at the end of a grueling day or on a quiet Sunday morning with the New York Times crossword puzzle, the combination of Battle's clear, sparkling soprano and the Caribbean influenced beat of the jazz accompaniment are the perfect antidote to a crazy world. It's superb music to relax into (NOT to be confused with muzak), brilliantly performed by all involved. The arrangements are inspired, the vocals transcendant."
Allyn | USA | 06/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kathleen Battle has taken on a whole new sound in "So Many Stars"-no opera or classical music here! Instead, folk songs, lullabies, and spirituals are the focus of this CD. In many ways it was a beautiful CD-Kathleen's voice is, as always, rich-sounding and beautiful. She seems to sing the Spanish numbers with ease and gently rolling r's, and the spiritual are sung with natural emotion when she sings them. And she didn't just stop with the songs themselves...no, this CD features a whole group of diverse musicians to accompany her. For the most part,they were great...the music really fit the mood. The casual, slightly jazzy saxophone, free-sounding, improvisational piano, Spanish-inspired guitar, and ethnic percussions add a whole new dimension to this CD-almost "cafe music" sounds. There's even one track ("Interlude") that is nothing but "pure" African sounding percussion. The only real complaint I had about this CD was that although the accompaniment was great and pleasantly unique for the most part, sometimes it sounded like the same accompaniment under every song. It's too bad it didn't sound a little more varied, instead of, "once you've heard three songs, you've heard what all the accompaniment sounds like". All in all, good CD...beautiful voice, fresh approach, and unique accompaniment."
L. Jackson | Washington, DC | 09/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Take a trip with Kathleen on this one! Her lush, exquisite, lightly melodic vocals accompanied by the likes of the late Grover Washington, Jr. and the beautiful piano stylings of Cyrus Chestnut are simply wonderful. This piece of work is a must have! Texture upon wonderful texture is captured within this project. If you are a classical music novice, like me, or you simply have ecclectic taste, this CD will become a treasured addition to your music library. Prepare to be delighted."
Joshua M. Clark | Everett, WA USA | 11/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Kathleen Battle's "classical" music, but this album of folk songs and spirituals was quite pleasant as well. Many of the songs have such unique melodies, patterns, and rhythms, quite far removed from those of her usual singing fare. It definitely isn't your ordinary "classical" music, which is what I was actually expecting the album to be, but it was quite pleasant to discover I was in error."
More Satisfying & Accomplished Than Ave. "Cross-over" CD
M. Bish | Rochester, NY United States | 02/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great album! So great and effecting, in fact, that I first heard track 1 ("Hush") in 1995 in the listening booth of a store but, having no money to purchase the disc, had to content myself with humming. Four years later when I finally added the disc to my collection, I was still able to sing the words... unbeknownst to me, the music had such an impact that I was able to remember after FOUR years. That is really saying something. Track 1 is still as haunting and beautifully sung as I had remembered and with that one number Ms. Battle de-bunked forever, in my mind at least, the notion that an opera singer could not shine in the non-classical repertoire. With SO MANY STARS, the listening public is privy to the many sides of a multi-faceted artist, some dimensions that we never glimpsed with her many brilliant operatic recordings. For instance, with "Fais Do Do" we see Ms. Battle's fun-loving side while "He's Gone Away" treats us to the spectacle of Ms. Battle plumbing deep in the despair of abandonment. Her singing has rarely been THIS involved and, as usual, every syllable is clearly enunciated, an especial treat when the songs are in English! In addition to English, songs are sung in Spanish and French. I'dd be remiss if I didn't mention the spirited and engaging accompaniment of the musicians (many of whom are contemporary jazz stars). There's a real give and take in these songs which accentuates the jazzy nature of these selections. (You'll even get to hear Ms. Battle sound a blue note or two.) You have to buy this album if your batteries need replenishing and music is your fuel of choice!"