JAZZ/POP

Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies." Original Broadway Cast Recording. RCA CBL 2-4053 -- As with all original-cast recordings, the music has a chance to stand on its own, divorced from the visual impact of the stage production. With music like Ellington's, and singers like Gregory hines, Terri Klausner, and Phyllis Hyman, success is practically guaranteed. And, indeed, this is an enjoyable album, whether you've seen the show or not. The strength of these performances lies in the fact "Sophisticated Ladies" is not just a show, it's a jazzm show, and Hines, Klausner, Hyman, and most of the other principlas are not just show performers -- they're jazz performers, too. They sing jazz and dance jazz, yet at any momnet they're ready to make that transition to "belting out a song" in the traditional Broadway style. Even Judith Jamison, whose dancing style seemed somewhat out of place in the show, is vocally strong in most of the numbers on the album, with the exception of "I'm Beginning to See the Light," where she lapses into some sadly unmusical phrasing. But Terri Klausner is equally impressive both on stage and on record, with a strong voice and good jazz phrasing. There's lots of tap-dancing on to be heard here, including Gregory Hines's impromptu hoofing on "Kinda Dukish." Hines's heartrending "Sometime to Live For" is alone worth the price of the album. He sings it from his shoes, with a sparse and tasteful piano accompaniment which leads into the full orchestra on the second chorus. The only really unfortunate cut is Priscilla Baskerville's reedy rendition of "In My Solitude," which didn't seem as bad in the show.

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