Sunday, April 08, 2007

JRB at last

After what seems like half a dozen failed attempts at seeing Broadway/jazz composer/singer Jason Robert Brown perform, I caught his second set Thursday night at Birdland. And you know you're just setting yourself up for disappointment after trying and failing to see someone sing not just once but several times. Well, I wasn't totally disappointed, I just realized something about his music: I prefer the pieces for female voice. And some of the duets. And one, maybe two, of the pieces meant for solo male voice. But most of the stuff he sang that night, sitting at the piano, backed up by two (are there more?) of the Caucasian Rhythm Kings, his band, didn't really do it for me. While he's a talented musician, I don't always love listening to his voice, and the stuff he writes for himself to sing isn't as good as the stuff he seems to write for others. So Laura Benanti's great but too-short appearance during the set was a nice change of pace that allowed me to see what it is I like and don't like about JRB. Although to his credit, I did enjoy "Someone to Fall Back On," even if B. insists that the Brian Nash of Duplex fame version is better.

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