Louis Jordan 1938-1950 (Fremeaux & Associés, two CDs). Imported from France, a near-perfect selection of thirty-six 78 sides by the singer-saxophonist and his Tympany Five, the jumping combo whose hard-swinging brand of populist jazz helped to set the musical agenda for rhythm and blues and early rock and roll. Not to worry–most of the big hits are here (“Choo-Choo Ch’Boogie,” “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” “Saturday Night Fish Fry”). If Jordan’s joyous music doesn’t make you smile and/or pat your foot, you need an intervention, or maybe a lobotomy (TT).
Archives for January 8, 2012
Follies (P.S. Classics, two CDs). The original-cast album of Eric Schaeffer’s standard-setting Kennedy Center revival of Stephen Sondheim’s great 1971 musical, which transferred to Broadway in the fall of 2011 and is now approaching the end of its run there (it will move to Los Angeles in May). More fully representative of the show than any previous recorded version, it preserves the magnificent performances of Danny Burstein and Jan Maxwell, and is essential listening for anyone who believes, as I do, that Follies is one of the permanent landmarks of postwar musical comedy (TT).
Our Town (Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, closes Feb. 12). David Cromer’s celebrated staging of Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece, remounted in Los Angeles with Helen Hunt as the stage manager. Arrestingly and incisively unsentimental, Cromer’s Our Town cuts to the heart of Wilder’s familiar tale of a small New England town and makes it as fresh as a news flash. I’m not normally fond of surprise endings, but Cromer has tucked one into this production, and it packs the punch of a bolt of lightning. Do not miss this show for any reason whatsoever (TT).