Albums

$20.49

Crossover - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Bobby Short is the Frank Sinatra of the supper clubs. Like Sinatra, Short is a consummate entertainer, a true professional. But the distance between Caesar's Palace and the Café Carlyle is approximately equal to the distance between Hoboken and uptown Manhattan, and Short's style is absolutely uptown. He has none of the hardscrabble swagger that infused Sinatra's work with pathos. If ever there was a time when Bobby Short was not invited to all the right parties, he doesn't let on, not for a note. The complete absence of angst makes Bobby Short Celebrates Rodgers & Hart easy listening indeed, but in the most wonderful way. His voice is unruffled and mellifluous, his phrasing spirited without ever being quite over the top. His articulation of Lorenz Hart's superb lyrics rests upon his witty and urbane piano playing like a marcelled starlet draped across a chaise lounge. His music is lovely without being too sweet, coquettish without being coarse, droll without being camp. Debonair, cosmopolitan and utterly self-possessed, Bobby Short is the just the man for the classic show tunes of Rodgers & Hart. Throughout this recording, he sustains a fantasy of New York that exists only on the big screen, and only in black and white. The national anthem of this magical dreamland is the "Hollywood Party" medley. This song is itself a delightful little movie -- a rousing start; drama, action, and intrigue in the middle; culminating in one big, big finale. ~ Jessica Jernigan
$11.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

After his debut on the tiny Brut Records (a short-lived record label of the famous cologne company), Michael Franks established both his unique sound and a recording process he has continued throughout his career. Primarily a jazz artist, Franks crossed over to pop and rock fans through heavy FM airplay beginning with The Art of Tea. Sensually suggestive and playful tracks, such as "Popsicle Toes" and "Eggplant" contain sly wordplay and almost Henry Mancini-like, breezy jazz-pop. Employing a similar approach as Steely Dan did with its music, Franks' singing and songwriting formed the basis of a sound rooted in the support of top-notch musicians, many of whom were the hottest studio jazz players on the scene. Here, the killer rhythm section of drummer John Guerin and bassist Wilton Felder is augmented by horn pros Michael Brecker and David Sanborn, with Franks and Larry Carlton handling all the guitar work. This winning combination of players, styles, singing, and songwriting would be reshuffled and refined over the years, but perhaps with no finer results than on this official major label debut. ~ Steve Matteo
$11.49

Crossover - Released May 13, 1981 | Rhino Atlantic

Depends strictly on your feeling regarding The Beatles. ~ Ron Wynn
$11.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$12.99

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$12.99

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

While on first listen Michael Franks' Passion Fruit appears to convey a jazz fusion approach, the inclusion of such contributors as Naná Vasconcelos, Astrud Gilberto and Toots Thielemans actually shows it to be a further continuation of Franks' championing of Brazilian music, with a light and deft touch. As on his previous outing, for which he brought in guest vocalists (Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross and Randy VanWarmer), on this album he enlists vocalist Kenny Rankin as well as Gilberto. This time, though, the vocalists appear to be a more natural fit. "Amazon," "Rainy Night in Tokyo" and "How the Garden Grows" reveals some of his best writing in some time, while "Now That Your Joystick's Broke" wouldn't be out of place lyrically alongside some of his clever, earlier songs. ~ Steve Matteo
$11.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$11.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

With Tommy LiPuma and Al Schmitt back producing, Michael Franks again moves in a different direction on One Bad Habit, with mixed results. Easily considered his commercial breakthrough, the album often lacks the lyrical and imaginative songwriting of previous efforts and sounds at times like two different albums. The contributions of Clare and Andre Fischer help bolster some of the more ambitious music, while players like Eddie Gómez, Eric Gale and David Spinozza at times appear underutilized. The title cut is another example of Franks' wry, observant takes on love and lust, yet musically it is a little lightweight. Still, considering the players, the occasionally adventurous musical ideas, and the basic jazz sound, Franks was able to go where very few jazz artists ever go in terms of attracting a larger audience and considerable airplay. ~ Steve Matteo
$10.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$12.99

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$12.99

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$11.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$11.49

Crossover - Released December 12, 2011 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Skin Dive marked the first time that Michael Franks appeared to be alternately running out of steam, repeating himself, and moving far afield from his unique jazz-pop hybrid. While this self-produced effort includes some fine playing from the usual cast of jazz pros, and the song "Your Secret's Safe with Me" has the perfect melding of jazz and pop, much of the rest of the music comes across as a bit too sparse and musically, many of the songs are not sufficiently fleshed out. Franks' musical personality still shines, but the wonderful musicians gathered together never really get to contribute in any way that makes for musical sparks. ~ Steve Matteo
$15.49
$11.99

Crossover - Released January 26, 2018 | SKIP Records

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Crossover - Released September 18, 2015 | Hubro

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$4.99

Crossover - Released November 22, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

$18.99

Crossover - Released November 19, 2012 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

The success of Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which opened at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway on May 12, 1981, and ran 333 performances, until June 30, 1982 (Horne's 65th birthday) was a cumulative one. Horne had been performing in nightclubs, theaters, and casinos for 40 years, singing many of the same songs she sang at the Nederlander, but somehow the Broadway context and her perseverance combined to make this more than a glorified club act. Horne had the benefit of being an artist who had faced adversity (particularly, the vicissitudes of being an African-American star in Hollywood in the 1940s) and, if not triumphed, at least persisted, so that, as she reached her golden age, her struggles within the entertainment business could be seen as heroic. And, she was still at it, which made her, in the nomenclature of the time, a "survivor." That earned her gales of applause from theatergoers who had made the journey with her and from new fans who were too young to remember her and were discovering her anew. The show made some attempt to at least trace the outlines of Horne's career from being a Cotton Club chorus girl in the 1930s to a movie star in the '40s. After a clutch of initial songs, an announcer made a Cotton Club announcement, and there was a short dramatic scene featuring several other performers who gave Horne a breather by doing a few numbers. Otherwise, she periodically interrupted the run of songs for personal reminiscences about her career as introductions to songs with which she was associated from her movie and previous Broadway musical appearances. The bulk of the show, however, was given over to her typically moving interpretations of classic songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Harold Arlen, and others. Among the new material, there was an emphasis on songs about endurance and self-reliance, in keeping with the overall theme, notably the Jim Croce hit "I Got a Name" and Paul Williams' "Life Goes On," both of which were turned into showstoppers. But then, the show was one showstopper after another, and a fitting capper to a great career. ~ William Ruhlmann
$11.99

Crossover - Released March 3, 2017 | Mediatone

Crossover - Released October 28, 2016 | Hubro

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