Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Matthew In A Tuxedo (Album Review: Matthew Morrison: Where It All Began)

A lot of people probably do not realize that before Matthew Morrison was Will Schuster on the hit television show "Glee," he was a Broadway leading man. And in interviews he has mentioned that growing up his parents listened to standards and theater songs. So essentially, these songs are "Where It All Began" for him. About two years ago, he released an album of pop originals, and I loved that record. Now, on his second outing, he has decided to go back to his roots. And from the first song on, you can see that he is in his elements here: he knows and loves these songs inside and out. More, he has respect for these songs, treating them with delicacy. There's good and bad there. You can sense his soul as he croons through familiar standards like "Younger Than Springtime," and "Hey There." Backed by an orchestra, you can feel the love shining through his interpretations. But, the arrangements, while lush and beautiful, seem familiar, and you kind of ask yourself if there is a point to the whole exercise. There's a West Side Story medley that seems ill-conceived - the songs aren't strung in a very cohesive way. And "Send In The Clown" is done pop style (a la Streisand's version) when he could have gone with the original theater orchestrations. Still, Morrison has a more than competent instrument that is displayed in full-force here, and you get the sense that he showed up all dressed up and ready to go for the gusto for these songs. I just prefer the jean clad laid back Matthew (Like a tuxedoed Matthew is chopped liver, by the way)

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