VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
28 MAR 08 ANNE FARNSWORTH
In 1987, Liza Minnelli made her second appearance at Carnegie Hall, an astonishing three-week run that exceeded her previous record-setting appearance in 1979. Recorded by Telarc, the CD entitled Liza Minnelli: Highlights From The Carnegie Hall Concerts brilliantly captures the entertainer's enthusiasm.
Backed by a full orchestra, the show features songs penned by her long-time collaborators, Kander and Ebb, hits from her own Broadway appearances and an eclectic assortment of Americana ranging from Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now." If the highlights aren't enough for you, a recording of her entire show, Liza Minnelli At Carnegie Hall: The Complete Concert, is also available.
Like her famous mother Judy Garland, Minnelli had a gift, perhaps a need, to open her heart to an audience, exposing the rawness and vulnerability that most of us work hard to keep concealed. Liza lays it all on the line, offering herself as a conduit for the listener. And with that shared emotionalism channeled through steel-plated pipes, her singing creates an ecstatic reaction in the audience that nears the level of an evangelical revival.
When she was 3, she appeared in one of Garland's movies and at 7, sang and danced during one of her mother's stage shows. But unlike contemporary celebutards who haunt the blogosphere, Liza doesn't assume hereditary entitlement to the spotlight. She works for it, and for our affections, with a humble sense of gratitude. At one point in the show, while paying homage to the writing of Kander and Ebb, she giddily exclaims as if she herself can't believe her great good fortune, "And they wrote those songs just for me!"