3 /2* A pleasant, but mostly unchallenging excursion
M. Allen Greenbaum | California | 10/06/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Gershwin brothers wrote so well that even I think I can sing their songs fairly well. Fortunately, my six-year old informs me otherwise. It is this consistent high quality that makes it difficult to critique professional singers' Gershwin output: It would be difficult to make this outstanding oeuvre sound bad. Marni Nixon, well known as the voice behind Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady," is quite appealing on this collection of Gershwin standards and lesser-known gems. Accompanied by a sole piano, she effectively uses a number of styles: Operatic on "I Say Tomatoes" (though this song is a bit over-miked) and "Summertime," wistful on "But Not for Me" and "Someone to Watch Over Me", and expressive on the seldom heard (and very fun) "Blah, Blah, Blah" and "The Babbit and the Bromide." Overall, her singing is very smooth, sometimes intimate-but more often operatic and booming. Nixon has a sly, winking way on the best of these songs; her obvious enjoyment of the lyrics is simply infectious. But, with a few exceptions noted above, this is Gershwin straight... not a whole lot of interpretation, and certainly more pop than jazz. The piano is more than competent, but lacks imagination. Nixon sings well, and her operatic sound is beautiful, but, generally, she lacks the warmth and irony of, say, Michael Feinstein, or the range of Ella Fitzgerald. Fans of Marni Nixon will want to pick this up; fans of Gershwin (and jazz) may want to go elsewhere. Superb liner notes by Michael Feinstein briefly describe each song, often featuring Ms. Nixon's comments (e.g., about "Of Thee I Sing" she exclaims, "This is really big music hall stuff, Radio City kind of thing. Lincoln [the pianist] said it would be too corny, but I don't care. I want it big, an . . . epic saga!"). Enjoyable and recommended!"
euger071 | Malibu, CA | 06/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marni Nixon has the one of the most beautiful voice in Musical Theater History. Her voice is rich and full of body. This CD is great to listen to not only because its Gershwin but because Marni brings in a natural beauty to Gershwin's music that does its justice. I highly recomment this CD!"
Gershwin must have imagined it.....
Robert C. Hufford | Hopewell, VA USA | 07/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"....like this. Marni Nixon, long noted as a "ghost singer" in various movies, put her name right up front on this one, and well she should. Originally released by Reference Recordings as an LP, this is virtually definitive Gershwin. Whether you like Gershwin's songs is up to you [a nurse I used to work with said that George never wrote two notes that belonged together; she's otherwise intelligent, and a great nurse], but if you like Gershwin, THIS is how these songs are supposed to sound.
The individual numbers need no comment; if you're reading this, you already know them, though I'll venture you know some better than others. Lincoln Mayorga provides the kind of piano playing that every singer wishes they could be backed by, and Keith Johnson's engineering is, naturally, perfection in a vacuum tube. If George is your cup-of tea, this is an absolutely essential recording."