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Jazz - Released September 12, 2002 | Naxos

Booklet
Even as Noël Coward's plays are still staged on a regular basis, he is also remembered as an endearing vocalist and composer of pleasantly romantic songs and satirical ditties. Born in Teddington, Middlesex in December 1899, Coward cited Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and Beatrix Potter as his primary influences; he also claimed to have been motivated at first by a youthful desire to improve upon the formal patterns of the traditional English nursery rhyme. Noël Coward's whimsicality and wit invite comparison with W.S. Gilbert and Oscar Wilde. At times his skill as a pop composer and lyricist nearly matched that of Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart; certain parallels could also be drawn with Dorothy Parker or even Ogden Nash. Coward's influence is clearly detectable in the works of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann; his lightning-quick wit and unflinching honesty also inspired the best of Joe Orton and Eric Idle. The opening measures of Coward's "Half-Caste Woman" even cropped up during "Nick Danger -- Third Eye" on the Firesign Theatre's second album, How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All (1968). Since the early '90s, a sort of Cowardly renaissance has developed as various reissue labels brought out detailed retrospectives; if Angel/EMI's HMV Recordings was comprehensive, Naxos has delved even further by sifting through the historical evidence to unearth all sorts of obscure treasures. Issued in 2005, Mad About the Boy is Castle Pulse's triple-CD tribute album. Two discs are devoted to what could be regarded as emblematic Noël Coward performances; disc three adds another dimension by illustrating Coward's influence upon some of the most important British dance bands of the '30s, including Carroll Gibbons & the Savoy Orpheans, Ray Noble & His New Mayfair Orchestra, Ray Starita and his Ambassadors, and the orchestras of Bert Ambrose, Jack Payne and Jack Jackson. What begins as a survey of Noël Coward's best recordings of his own songs blossoms into a superb mini-anthology of historical performances that characterize the cultural environment where those songs first thrived and became popular. ~ arwulf arwulf
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International Pop - Released September 12, 2017 | Editions Audiovisuel Beulah

£10.99

Humour/Spoken Word - Released September 1, 2017 | L.A. Theatre Works

£7.99

Jazz - Released May 8, 2017 | CTS Digital

£7.99

Pop - Released May 27, 2016 | CTS Digital

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Lounge - Released May 10, 2016 | Gralin Music

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Pop - Released August 1, 2014 | Harbinger Records

Booklet
£4.79

Miscellaneous - Released March 28, 2014 | Jasnet Records

£4.79

Pop - Released February 4, 2014 | The Digital Gramophone

£12.89

Musical Theatre - Released October 11, 2013 | Masterworks Broadway

£7.99

Miscellaneous - Released February 13, 2013 | The Digital Gramophone

£7.99

Miscellaneous - Released February 11, 2013 | The Digital Gramophone

£6.39

Lounge - Released December 7, 2011 | Gralin Music

£4.79

Jazz - Released December 6, 2011 | Master Series, Inc.

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Lounge - Released October 31, 2011 | FourMatt Music

Noel Coward at Las Vegas, the live chronicle of Coward's engagement at the Desert Inn in the summer of 1955, was a chart LP for Columbia Masterworks, and this studio recording is pitched as its complement, to the point that the record label has taken the cover photograph of the singer, posed in a tuxedo with a cup of tea, standing in the desert, and substituted a New York skyline background to suggest that the same musical approach is being taken. And so it is, minus the applause. Once again, Peter Matz serves as pianist/arranger/conductor, updating some of Coward's old songs to more contemporary backgrounds, while the two also add some more recently written numbers, such as "Louisa" and "Time and Again." (Listeners will recognize "What's Going to Happen to the Tots," an old song with new lyrics, from Together with Music, Coward's 1955 TV special with Mary Martin). In general, these are newer songs, including ones from the 1950 British musical Ace of Clubs ("I Like America," "Sail Away"), although there are selections that date back to the early '30s ("Half-Caste Woman" from Cochran's 1931 Revue). Once again, there is a medley, and once again it is regrettable that such good songs are tossed off in brief choruses. In fact, it's even more regrettable than it was on the live album. While medleys are really more for the benefit of bored performers who don't want to relive their hits than for audiences who would much rather hear the songs in full, at least in a live show there is the excuse that you can't squeeze them all into a one-hour set otherwise. On a studio album, there's really no excuse for them. That aside, In New York is very much the equal of At Las Vegas, another collection of Coward's sophisticated (which is to say, witty, erudite, and, in some cases, very adult) reflections on life and love, tossed off in his deliberately excessive upper class English accent. ~ William Ruhlmann