March 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Way Ahead of the Game - The Lyrics of   Johnny Mercer
  Featuring Richard Rodney Bennett piano/voice With Jeremy Brown (bass); Matt Skelton (drums); Stan Sulzman (alto saxophone); Andrew Haveron (violin); Steve Morris (violin); Roger Chase (viola); Ben Lasserson (cello)
  Available on: Black Box BBJ2018  
Running Time: 51:22

way ahead of the game

Whistling Away the Dark (Henry Mancini)
Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home (Harold Arlen)
Canít Teach My Old Heart New Tricks (Richard Whiting)
Iím Way Ahead of the Game (Robert Emmett Dolan)
Harlem Butterfly (Johnny Mercer)
Laura (David Raksin)
I Wanna Be A Danciní Man (Harry Warren)
I Remember You (Victor Scherzinger)
Goody! Goody! (Matty Malneck)
Come Rain Or Come Shine (Harold Arlen)
Skylark (Hoagy Carmichael)
One For My Baby (Harold Arlen)
Letís Take the Long Way Home (Harold Arlen)
I Wonder What Became of Me (Harold Arlen)

Richard Rodney Bennett is best known as the British, New York based composer of many outstanding film scores including: Only Two Can Play, Far from the Madding Crowd, Nicholas and Alexander, Murder on the Orient Express, Enchanted April, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Gormenghast.

Here he is vocalist and pianist with a jazz ensemble in breezy arrangements of 14 songs that have in common the lyrics of Johnny Mercer. I have to say that whilst the backings are always amenable, Rodney Bennettís smoky voiced, laid-back, almost spoken delivery and rather flat expressive range tends towards the monotonous by the time the last number is through. Too many slow-paced numbers do not help. Disappointing.

Ian Lace

*** 3

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