For me, the high spots of this wonderful album are as follows: Dawn Upshaw's 'Lonely Town' - Her voice and delivery? Utterly sublime, and this track simply won't allow me to play it only once. Audra MacDonald is equally wonderful in 'A little bit in love'. I've said elsewhere that I really don't understand why she isn't better known in this country. Richard Muenz is an eye-opener in his rendition of 'Quiet Girl', it's so beautifully delivered it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Oh hell, the whole thing is brilliant! The more I listen to it, the more I realise I can't live without it. Judy Blazer is stunning in 'The Story of my Life' and proves herself so versatile in 'Come up to my place'. She's another performer I don't really know, but I'll be seeking her out. My only reservation with her is that on occasion, I get the feeling she's trying to out 'Garland' Judy Garland.
I'm inclined to agree that on occasion, Mandy Patinkin is miscast. He's not a romantic lead, but he adds such chutzpah in the likes of 'Wrong Note Rag'.
Dawn Upshaw sets the standard with the opening track - Lonely Town - you're transported to Bernstein's New York - vibrant, emotional, a city of infinite possibilities. This collection of 19 of his compositions, performed cabaret-style by Upshaw, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Judy Blazer, Richard Muenz and Donna Murphy, may not contain any vocal surprises, just fantastic atmospheric interpretations, and as such is highly recommended.