Bold As Brass CD
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To celebrate his 70th birthday in 2010, Sir Cliff Richard has recorded Bold As Brass, an album of jazz and swing standards.
Featuring classics such as "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Let's Fall In Love" and "I've Got You Under My Skin", Bold As Brass showcases Cliff's voice in a spectacular and unique way.
As Cliff explains, "With the incredible creative input of seasoned American producer Michael Omartian, and the live sound of Nashville's best swing musicians, Bold as Brass is an album I've planned and dreamt about for years. It's been a long time coming, but what better way to mark my 7Oth birthday than to celebrate a genre of music which is both timeless and sheer class."
Bold as Brass realises Cliff Richard’s lifelong ambition to record a selection of timeless classics from the Great American Songbook with a band of Nashville’s best swing musicians, a crew of collaborators that the Rat Pack themselves would have loved.
As an opener, Love Me or Love Me is an ambitious, vocally tricky choice. It’s a demanding song, with its descending octave in the second bar; arguably, it sounds better as an instrumental. And under the microscope Richard’s limitations are revealed: a catch of the breath here, a clipped phrase there. These tend to make for a somewhat jumpy delivery. Sometimes at the end of a number, Night and Day for instance, he strives too hard to sell the song.
But Richard’s vocal timbre, so identifiable from songs like The Young Ones, still shines on in this collection; one can imagine that it’s been something of a learning curve to acquire the knack of performing these numbers. It’s good to hear him reviving the likes of Teach Me Tonight, a hit for the DeCastro Sisters back in 1954 but seldom sung today.
Let’s Fall in Love, with a genuinely poetic verse, is a carefree interpretation with a light accompaniment that goes very well. Sinatra previously sang Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered but it was written originally for a woman to sing and, in translation, the lyric loses some of its impact. Also susceptible to criticism is the running order of this collection. Duke Ellington’s Don’t Get Around Much Anymore has been programmed at track 10, though it’s one of Richard’s most stylish interpretations. He’s excellent too in catching the mood of the bluesy I Just Want to Make Love to You.
The band shines throughout, leaving their mark on I Didn’t Know What Time It Was, where the arrangement, with cabaret piano introduction, switches from Latin to swing. There’s a welcome change of pace for They Can’t Take That Away From Me, which arrives after four swing numbers, and an all-male vocal group joins Richard for the gospel-intoned Accentuate the Positive, where one can envisage them as southern Baptist preachers. On Lazy River, another song rooted in the American south, Richard’s vocal recalls Bobby Darin’s much-loved interpretation.
In retrospect it seems a shame that Sir Cliff has waited so long to record this. He clearly loves these songs and his interpretations, endearing if not enduring, will pleasantly surprise those who might not have expected him to take up the challenge.--Adrian Edwards
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Top customer reviews
The first thing I will say about this record is that despite being a smidgen too loud, it has a great sound. I like the crystal clear, hard hitting sound that you get from this album. There is a lot of dynamics from each instrument and it gives the record a nice fresh sound. Each instrument has enough space to breath and I think it comes across quite nicely through my big set of speakers and headphones.
Cliff Richard has been mixed nicely as per usual. His voice on this record however, seems to have fans opinions split down the middle. A brass driven jazz album is not something that comes natural to Cliff and you can hear it in his voice. He sings his heart out, sounds just as smooth as he always does but he does so in less of a jazz style and more like when he sang all those '60s pop standards back in the day. It is not bad by any means, but it isn't what you'd expect from this kind of album and there are moments where the vocals don't suit the music.
There is very little about the album that I could criticise. The band put together are incredibly talented, superbly recorded and Cliff sounds like Cliff, as professional as he always is. Rod Stewart attempted to pull off the same kind of project before this was released. The results sounded like an old man with a sore throat at a karaoke bar, so fans should feel relieved that this album sounds as good as it does. Fans of Cliff Richard will either love or hate it, I personally enjoyed it but you can take that for what it's worth or make up your own mind.
Published by Steven Lornie of Demonszone
Stand outs on the recording include:
'They Can't Take That Away From Me:' Love this one because of the very sensitive vocal interpretation and bit of a latin beat. Lovely!
'Accentuate the Positive': I worried about this one because of years of hearing it badly done on sixties TV and due to how folks typecast Sir Cliff. He is great on this song, and makes it his own. I turn it up to blast it in the car.
'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered:' An incredible performance dripping with a yearning, aching love.
'Teach Me Tonight:' Always a favorite in the US and viewed as an R&B song really.
'I Just Wanna Make Love to You:' Folks, he growls this song, like the Rock n'Roller he is and makes it sexy and bluesy and fantastic!
No, it's not Rock n' Roll, but it is GREAT! Worth your time and money! Better than other contemporary artists in the genre and on a par with Standard Favs like Torme, Cole, Sinatra and Fitzgerald. The man is a professional.
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Everytime we say good bye
Ive got you under my skin
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