Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Warhol Live











Today, Tuesday, Mar 31 10:00a to 11:00a
at Golden Gate Park: De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
Over the course of his meteoric career, Andy Warhol used the medium of music to transform himself from fan, to record album designer, to producer, to celebrity night-clubber, to “rock star.” Warhol Live, at the de Young from February 14 to May 17, 2009, presents the first comprehensive exploration of Andy Warhol’s work as seen through the lens of music. read more
Price: $0.00 - $20.00
Age Suitability: All Ages
Tags: music, gallery, family, exhibit, all, warhol, ages, andy
Over the course of his meteoric career, Andy Warhol used the medium of music to transform himself from fan, to record album designer, to producer, to celebrity night-clubber, to “rock star.” Warhol Live, at the de Young from February 14 to May 17, 2009, presents the first comprehensive exploration of Andy Warhol’s work as seen through the lens of music. This exhibition brings together a wide variety of works depicting pop music royalty, including Elvis Presley, the Velvet Underground, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Liza Minnelli, Grace Jones, Deborah Harry of Blondie, and Michael Jackson. Major Warhol silkscreen paintings, films and sound recordings, album covers, illustrations, and photographs inspired by music and the performing arts will provide a visual and aural score to Warhol’s extraordinary work and life.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Liza fan Mary Lou sharing her photo's & signed tckets from 1981!

CLICK PHOTO'S FOR FULL VIEW! ~ The show was at the Chuteau de Ville, Framingham, MA, March 25, 1981.










































































Sammy,

That would be fine to post the pictures. I believe they were taken at the Chateau deVille, Framingham, MA, Oct., 1981. See attached ticket.

So glad that you enjoyed them.

Mary Lou










Thanks so much, love Sammy,

LIZA ! ~ Orfeo Córdoba March ~ 27 ~ 2009!

Liza Minnelli South America Tour...

videoLiza's beautiful version of "He's Funny That Way"...one of my favorite numbers!
videoLIZA! LIZA!
videoA powerhouse version of "CABARET"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Liza Minnelli's triumph of the will ~ 'I've tap-danced for every buck I've ever earned!'

Liza Minelli: 'They told me I’d never walk, talk or move again, and I decided not to believe them.' (TONY CENICOLA/NYT)

ELIZABETH RENZETTI
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
E-mail Elizabeth Renzetti
Read Bio
Latest Columns
March 27, 2009 at 11:08 AM EDT
LONDON — There's something I've wanted to ask Liza Minnelli ever since I went to a Halloween party dressed as her – not the first person to wear the Liza costume, of course, but possibly one of the first women. The end of the evening found my wig askew, leotard covered in wine stains, cigarette butts stuck to the bottom of my tap shoes. So far, so authentic. But the damn false eyelashes wouldn't budge for days, resisting the combined efforts of turpentine, forceps and a couple of off-duty paramedics.
So how does she do it, day after day? “Oh honey,” she cackles, over the phone from New York. “I only wear those things onstage.” Fair enough. In her 63 years, she has had to deal with a few issues more weighty than the caterpillars on her eyelids. The injuries, for example – knee surgeries, hip replacements, encephalitis (a brain inflammation). The drug and alcohol addictions. The tormented family history. The four ex-husbands, at least some of whom were not, for the most part, heterosexual.
If show business has a Leaning Tower of Pisa, it's Liza. It's hard to believe she's still standing, and it feels important, at least once in a lifetime, to see her perform and witness the triumph of willpower over nature. (Canadian audiences will be able to see for themselves when Liza brings her act to Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on April 7.)
Even Liza, it seems, can't believe Liza's still standing. “They told me I'd never walk, talk or move again,” says Liza, again with a cackle (that's cackle with a K!), “and I decided not to believe them.” It was 2000, and she was stricken with encephalitis, from which the doctors told her she wouldn't recover.

“I thought, what do I know how to do? I know how to rehearse, so literally I rehearsed my way back to health. I kept practising – talking, taking tiny little steps. Inch by inch.”
Liza's pretty magical company, because she has no dimmer switch. When she talks about the joys of seeing Charles Aznavour perform, she produces a phone-splitting shriek: “He is extraordinary!” From Aznavour, she learned about drama in singing, and to this day she prepares little back stories for the characters in each of her songs: Where does the woman in the song live? When she looks out the window, what does she see? “They're not just songs. I go from one piece of acting to another.”
Even a phone conversation is a little performance: She hoots, sighs and at one point begins to softly sing: “I came to see a lady who/ in fact I was related to/ who packed my lunches, wiped my nose/ and cooked me Cream of Wheat.”
That's a song from her triumphant stretch of comeback concerts last December at the Palace Theatre in New York: It's about Liza, as a child, watching her mother Judy Garland perform one of her own famous comebacks at the Palace. The Palace is something of a repository of family ghosts – a decade ago, Liza performed a tribute there to her father, the great film director Vincente Minnelli.
After years of ghoulish interest, Liza is adept at protecting her childhood from prying eyes: Garland was “just my mom,” and life in Hollywood and on the MGM sets, she insists, was normal. (Then again, when Lana Tuner and her knife-wielding daughter Cheryl Crane are your next-door neighbours, “normal” assumes a fresh meaning.)
Liza says she doesn't spend much time listening to the songs of her mother, who died of an overdose in 1969, the same year she and Liza appeared onstage together in London for the first and only time. Listening to her mother's records, she says, “makes me too sad.”
But she did sing some of Garland's more famous numbers at the Palace last year, including Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Mainly, though, the show was a tribute to Liza's beloved godmother Kay Thompson, a high-living dame of the old school, who was MGM's music director, the author of the Eloise books and the primary force in getting Liza, as a teenager, off her keister and into tap shoes.
“People think that I've always been wealthy,” says Liza, and then – this is a first – I hear an actual guffaw. “From the time I was 15, I never took any money from my parents. Times are tough now. I've tap danced for every buck I've ever earned!”
For half a century, Liza's been high-kicking and jazz-handing across the world, picking up an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy along the way – not even the brief detours into Studio 54 and pill and alcohol addiction could halt her show-must-go-on momentum. She has spoken of her relief when the gene for alcohol addiction was identified: “Some people still think it has to do with lack of willpower. But you look at some of the greatest scientists, poets, playwrights – they've been alcoholics. It doesn't have to do with lack of willpower.”
Romance, perhaps, was another addiction. Just as she was recovering from the encephalitis, she hooked up with the music producer David Gest, a match so ill-starred that it made Romeo and Juliet look like the Cleavers. What did we expect though, with Michael Jackson in the wedding party, and photos showing the bridegroom appearing to eat, rather than kiss, his new wife's face?
That was Liza's fourth failed marriage. (The other husbands were producer Jack Haley Jr., artist Mark Gero and composer Peter Allen, who ended his days with his long-time boyfriend.) She was also engaged to Peter Sellers. Surely you can't take that many rides on the bridal express and still expect to end up in a mythical land called Happily Ever After?
“Oh, I still believe in romance,” Liza barks. “I just don't believe in marriage.”
Liza Minnelli performs at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall on April 7.

Liza's at the Palace ~ SHOWBIZ / Visit with the princess of our gay state

BEYOND ICON. Liza Minnelli brings her celebrated Liza's at the Palace show to Toronto.
Douglas Boyce / Toronto / Thursday, March 26, 2009


“Call me Liza,” the show business legend and celebrated gay icon declares in her familiar, energetic voice after being greeted as Ms Minnelli.She is one of only a very few performers who has won the quartet of the entertainment industry’s most celebrated awards — Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy — over a career that spans more than five decades. Her father is the Oscar-winning director Vincent Minnelli whose films include classics like Gigi, Meet Me in St Louis and An American in Paris. Her mother is Judy Garland, the actress and singer whose 1969 death is widely cited as the spark that began the Stonewall riots. But what self-respecting queer doesn’t know that? Minnelli made her film debut at the age of two in In the Good Old Summertime starring her mother and Van Johnson. Since then she has starred in more than 20 other films including Arthur, New York, New York and her Academy Award-winning role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She has recorded more than 25 albums and worked with a wide range of musical artists, everyone from Frank Sinatra and Charles Aznavour to The Pet Shop Boys and My Chemical Romance.Fresh off a recent South American tour and her triumphant return to Broadway last December in the acclaimed Liza’s at the Palace, Minnelli is performing in Toronto on Tue, Apr 7 at Roy Thomson Hall. No stranger to rave reviews, even she was impressed by the notices for her last show. “Oh, it was wonderful, and with those kind of reviews, my God. A dream come true,” she says. “It was amazing. I mean we didn’t really get one bad review.” She says her show in Toronto will be mostly Liza’s at the Palace, “but I’ve thrown in some new stuff, too.” Despite her devoted following Minnelli does not consider herself a gay icon. “I don’t think about it, you know what I mean? Luckily, I know a lot of gay dancers and writers. In show business there’s a lot of gay and lesbian people and I’m buddies with everybody. I really am.”When not working Minnelli keeps busy. “I always go to see almost everything. I go to plays, to clubs and see what new performers there are, singers, pianists and off-Broadway shows and things like that. I have a huge interest.“There are lots of wonderful actors and actresses and new directors that I would like to work with,” she says. “I never name names because then it separates somebody from somebody else and it’s not real polite.“I think my biggest talent is finding people who are more talented than I am,” she says, “and then working with them. Like Ron Lewis, my director, my choreographer [on Liza’s at the Palace]. I’ve worked with him since 1970 and he has won me a couple of Tonys. He’s just the greatest.“I saw one of his shows and I thought, ‘I have to work with this man.’ This was in the ’60s, right. It took me four years before I could get him to work with me. I had to keep auditioning,” she says, laughing, “but I stuck to it.”Minnelli, who just turned 63, says she is feeling “great, absolutely superb. Thank you so much for asking.” Over her career she has had a number of prolonged and dramatic health concerns, everything from alcohol and drug addiction to hip replacement surgeries and a near fatal bout of encephalitis in 2000.“I’m getting used to it, or trying to,” she says referring to her age, laughing. “I don’t know what it is, but I don’t feel it.”At this stage in her career you might think she has nothing left to accomplish. Minnelli disagrees. “I want to do everything again and better.”
Liza Minnelli. $59.50-$189.50. 8pm. Tue, Apr 7.Roy Thomson Hall.60 Simcoe St.(416) 872-4255.
Tags: liza minnelli

LIZA ~ " I'll Be Seeing You" finale in AGENTINA!

videoThis is now Liza's song!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

LIZA ~ Hits RIO!!! March 24, 2009

videoA stunning version of The Palace Medley & show stopper Cabaret! videobeautiful take on My Mammy! video

Rio begging for more after New York, New York!

LIZA ~ 70's photo slideshow!

video

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hey, that's Liza Minnelli

Jim Aylward chats with Liza Minnelli backstage at a Halston fashion show back in the day.
Hey, that's Liza Minnelli — and me
By Jim Aylward, Special to the Times In Print: Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I lived in Park Slope in Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan back in the '70s and '80s. So, for about 20 years or so, I bumped into celebrities almost every day. I was a kind of celebrity of sorts because I hosted an early-morning radio show on WRFM. But mostly I saw movie stars and TV stars and the famous from all walks of life meandering the streets of the city.
I saw beautiful Joan Fontaine, red hair parted in the middle and pulled straight back (you've got to have a really good face to do that!) walking along Sixth Avenue with a gentleman friend, arm in arm.
There was John Forsythe on a warm summer day strolling along, jacket tossed over his shoulder, looking exactly as he did every week on Dynasty.
Some famous people didn't look like they did onscreen. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy were tiny. They always held each other as they walked on 54th Street.
I entered a pharmacy on Columbus Avenue one morning and there was Tony Randall walking out of the place. I looked at him, broke into a smile and said, "Tony Randall!" He smiled back and said, "Yes!"
When I finished my show each morning, I walked to the parking garage at 54th and Madison, and waited for my car. One day Arthur Godfrey was there waiting for his Chrysler Cordoba. I introduced myself and told him I did a radio show from 6 to 9 a.m. He said, "That's the worst time slot in the business! I was tired for years doing that!"
Some stars you just couldn't bring yourself to speak to. I saw Ethel Merman on Fifth Avenue making an effort to hail a cab. I looked at her, she looked at me, and I knew I'd better keep my mouth shut.
One time I was walking slowly down Fifth Avenue past Elizabeth Arden's boutique. The traffic had stopped. It was a parking lot of cars and limousines. Suddenly, the back door of one huge limo opened and Donald Trump came storming out. Annoyed, frustrated, he stalked up the avenue. Even the Donald couldn't make the traffic flow.
On another beautiful sunny morning, in almost the same spot, I saw the incredibly lovely Lena Horne, gently strolling along — a mink wraparound, a knowing smile, that ageless face. I smiled. She nodded.
I did a lot of writing for newspapers and magazines while I had my radio show. At one time, a fashion industry magazine asked me to do a monthly column. The editor invited me to go to a Halston show. I sat with her along the runway, and backstage she photographed me with Halston models, some of them leaving big lipstick prints on my face. Nice!
The editor spotted Liza Minnelli, a Halston pal, sitting quietly on one of the little runway chairs waiting for Halston to finish. Before I knew what was happening, the editor insisted I be photographed with Liza. So, I was seated next to her, introduced, and then a puzzled Miss Minnelli had her photograph taken with Mr. Awkward. The photo was sent to me, and my gang at WRFM put it on the bulletin board and invited everybody to write a caption for what Liza might be saying to me. The winner was: "Who did she say you were?"
Every day after the show, I would get my car at 54th, drive across town to First Avenue and then quickly downtown to the Brooklyn bridges. It was sunny, clear and beautiful one morning as I swung the car from 54th to First and almost knocked down an elderly lady trying to cross the street. I managed to stop about one foot from her knees. She was tall, thin, had gray moplike hair, horn-rimmed glasses and a very large stride. She looked at me directly. I looked at her and waved her on. She then turned and quickly crossed the road. She was Greta Garbo. I had almost killed Greta Garbo. I knew instantly who she was. She knew who I was. I was the jerk in the gray Buick Skylark.
New Port Richey resident Jim Aylward was formerly a nationally syndicated columnist and radio host in New York City. Write him in care of LifeTimes, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

LIZA pulls out all the stops in São Paulo BRAZIL! March 19, 2009

videoTEACH ME TONIGHT! videoCabaret! videoMy Own Best Friend...Liza sing her heart out! videoBUT THE WORLD GOES ROUND! videoshow stopping "New York, New York"!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

LIZA MINNELLI > The Complete A&M Recordings



Posted by Gillian G. Gaar on March 1st, 2009


Label: COLLECTORS’ CHOICE

Rating: ****

Before Liza Minnelli found international stardom in the film Cabaret, she’d already attracted favorable notices for her theatre and film work. She made her debut as a recording artist with Capitol, but when her records failed to chart, A&M picked up her contract and released four albums from 1968 to 1972, which make up this collection. Unsurprisingly, Minnelli does best with standards like “God Bless The Child,” or the work of clever songwriters like Randy Newman (his biting “The Debutante’s Ball” is a highlight). In fact, her third A&M album, New Feelin’, was solely composed of standards, featuring self-consciously “modern” arrangements that are somewhat dated but still largely work due to Minnelli’s vocal panache. She’s less successful with contemporary material-her only chance of getting a hit during the ‘60s rock era (though her version of “Come Saturday Morning” exudes a nice singer-songwriter feel). This is most evident in the live album presented here (from a 1969 performance in Paris) which features a bizarre medley of “Consider Yourself”/”Hello, I Love You”/”I Gotta Be Me.” But overall, this is a fascinating document of a superstar’s ascendancy.

ARGENTINA LOVES LIZA! 3 17 09

video

Liza in Luna Park







Monday, March 16, 2009

LIZA WORKIN ARGENTINA! March 15, 2009 WOW!


videoMaybe This Time
videoAlexander's Rag Time Band!!!!
videomeeting the press.

Minnelli to Play the Hollywood Bowl in August


By Andrew Gans16 Mar 2009


Tony Award winner Liza Minnelli, recently on Broadway in Liza's at the Palace. . ., will offer two concerts at the Hollywood Bowl this summer.
Minnelli, backed by her own band and dancers, will play the California venue Aug. 28 and 29. Show time both nights is 8:30 PM.
Prior to Liza's at the Palace. . ., Minnelli, an Oscar winner for her performance in Cabaret, was last on Broadway in a tribute to her late father entitled Minnelli on Minnelli; she also returned to New York City's Beacon Theatre with her acclaimed concert Liza's Back! In addition to her Tonys for Flora, the Red Menace and The Act, Minnelli was awarded a special Tony in 1974 for "adding lustre to the Broadway season." Her film credits include "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Arthur," "New York, New York" and "Stepping Out." The singer is also a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress. Her album "Liza's Back!" is available on the J Records label, and "The Best of Liza Minnelli" was released on the Columbia/Legacy label. Showtime aired "Liza with a 'Z'," and Minnelli also received the Julie Harris Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 10th Annual Tony Awards Bash in Los Angeles.
For ticket information visit www.hollywoodbowl.com.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Liza in Argentina!






videoLiza in Argentina! (VIDEO)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ON THIS DAY IN SHOW BIZ: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIZA


On this day in 1946, Liza Minnelli, the only offspring of two Oscar winners to win an Oscar herself, is born to actress Judy Garland and director Vincent Minnelli. Liza won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Cabaret in 1972, the same year she won an Emmy for her TV special “Liza with a Z.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Liza Minnelli: The Complete A&M Recordings (Collectors' Choice)


by Ellis WidnerArkansas Democrat-GazetteMarch 3, 2009


This two-CD set has all of the pop/standards singer's A&M work from the late 1960s and early '70s, including outtakes. The set has 51 songs, including striking takes on songs by then-contemporary writers such as Randy Newman, then-husband Peter Allen and John Lennon. Though not yet a huge star, she tackled popular songs with contemporary arrangements, including Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love," Randy Newman's "Love Story," Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park" and "Didn't We," and more. Standards are here, too, including the exquisite "How Long Has This Been Going On?" and "Love for Sale." Her signature "Liza With a 'Z'," and her best-loved song, "Cabaret," are definite highlights. Minnelli never gives any less than her all in these performances.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Minnelli, Aznavour, Fraser, Testa, Morton and More Among Bistro Award Winners


By Andrew Gans02 Mar 2009


Back Stage Magazine has announced the winners of the annual Bistro Awards, which recognize outstanding achievement in the cabaret field.
Among the winners of the 2009 awards are such Broadway favorites as Liza Minnelli, Alison Fraser, Mary Testa, Liz McCartney and Euan Morton. A gala evening celebrating this year's winners will be held April 28 at the Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan.
Famed singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour will be presented with the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award, which was named after the late Back Stage cabaret critic. Minnelli will be honored with the award for Enduring Artistry. Aznavour will present Minnelli with her award, and Minnelli will present Aznavour with his.
Winners were chosen by Elizabeth Ahlfors (Cabaret Scenes), David Finkle (Back Stage), Rob Lester (Cabaret Scenes, talkinbroadway.com), Erv Raible (executive/artistic director of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University), Roy Sander (former Back Stage columnist), and Back Stage Editor at Large, Sherry Eaker.
Winners of the 24th Annual Back Stage Bistro Awards follow:
Euan Morton/Outstanding Vocalist/Metropolitan RoomSusan Winter/Outstanding Vocalist/Metropolitan RoomLaurel Massé/Outstanding Jazz Vocalist/Birdland and Metropolitan RoomDeb Berman/Outstanding Debut/Metropolitan RoomKim Smith/Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award/Don't Tell Mama, Joe’s Pub, Duo TheatreAmanda McBroom/Outstanding Major Engagement/Metropolitan RoomJulie Gold/BMI Award for Outstanding Songwriter/Entertainer/The DuplexCarol Hall/ASCAP Award for Outstanding CD/"Hallways: The Songs of Carol Hall"Uptown Express/Outstanding Vocal Group/Metropolitan RoomAlison Fraser & Mary Testa/"Together Again: The Songs of Rusty Magee"/Outstanding Duo/Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank CafeTapestry Rewoven – A Jazz Re-imagining of the Carole King Classic/Outstanding Theme Show, performed by Laurie Krauz, musical direction and arrangements by Daryl Kojak/Metropolitan Room and the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank CafeLittle Death: Songs of Coming and Going/Outstanding Theme Show, conceived and performed by Karen Kohler, directed by John- Richard Thompson, musical direction by Doug Oberhamer/ arrangements by Tom Nazziola, Oberhamer, and Kohler/Zipper Factory TheatreLiz McCartney/"Rosemary & Time: A Musical Tribute to the Life of Rosemary Clooney"/Outstanding Tribute Show/Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank CafeNashville /Outstanding Revue, co-starring Daryl Glenn and musical director/arranger Jo Lynn Burks, directed and choreographed by Vince DeGeorge/Metropolitan RoomBrian Nash / Outstanding Lounge Entertainer / The DuplexNarcissister/Outstanding Burlesque/Vaudeville Act/Joe’s PubOpening Doors Theatre Company: Closing Notice Series / Outstanding Series/The DuplexLennie Watts/Outstanding DirectorDon Rebic/Outstanding Musical DirectorLisa Moss/Outstanding Technical Director/The DuplexRobert Kimball/Special Award for preserving, documenting and celebrating the Great American SongbookJoseph Macchia/Special Award for his Cabaret Cares benefit seriesLiza Minnelli/Enduring ArtistryCharles Aznavour/Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award
The 24th Annual Back Stage Bistro Awards Gala will be held April 28 at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street. Most of the Bistro winners will perform. A champagne and wine reception for the Bistro recipients and premium ticket holders will begin at 5 PM with the awards presentation scheduled for 6:30 PM. Sherry Eaker will host. To purchase tickets call (646) 654-5725; for more information email bistros@backstage.com.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Sound Advice column of CD reviews ~ LIZA'S AT THE PALACE




The Sound Advice column of CD reviews returns from a hiatus with high-energy recordings featuring the folks who recently raised the roof at the Palace Theatre on Broadway following a tour crisscrossing the globe: welcome back to our readers and to Liza Minnelli with the songs from that recent show, six of them featuring her four male singer-dancers. Two of them have recordings of their own. There's energy to burn all around.0D




LIZA MINNELLI LIZA'S AT THE PALACE Hybrid Recordings
"Look who's here—the same dame you've always known" goes a line in the tailor-made new song about Liza Minnelli's latest grand return. And for the most part, that sums up her new double-disc release: it's very Liza, with her trademark zing and joyful theatricality. The song quoted is called "I Would Never Leave You" and captures the entertainer's longtime love affair—with her audiences. Smoothly and adeptly acknowledging her love for her work and its importance, it is unabashedly affectionate and self-knowing (written by the talented, "they-know-whereof-they-speak" Billy Stritch, Johnny Rodgers—more on them below—and Brian Lane Green). This is a masterful Minnelli, knowing herself, her career and her image, all with their, to quote the title of one of her first shows, best foot forward.
The singing has always been more about bold choices, biting into songs ferociously with dramatic flourishes and a whirlwind of energy more so than having musical purity or "pretty sounds." The vibrato can be wide, with more blare than care, but that ain't new. Reinvigorated here (the word "ragged" some cynics might hope to hear is not remotely appropriate). Yes indeed, this performer has had her own well-documented vocal challenges and uneven performances as a result of various woes and struggles. How does she sound here? Healthy and focused, youthful without that very giddy, giggly, girlishness or frantic, frazzled feel that she could have been accused of in past recordings and shows. She's involved and savvy, warm and in fine fettle. If you've liked Liza's work in the past, you'll be a satisfied customer again: she delivers punch and things feel kinetic and dynamic.
Featuring the songs in her act that has been touring the world from Uruguay to Broadway, this is a studio recording, not recorded-live-in-concert with adulatory applause and screams. That's fine; she's released numerous live albums and a studio session allows for choices focused on vocal and musical elements that need not make compensations for movement, a performer pacing herself, and the vagaries of audience and sound systems. The album, produced by legendary record producer Phil Ramone, sounds bright and crisp, almost feeling "live" pretty often. (A few brief lines of patter are retained from the live shows.)
About half the songs have been recorded before, some more than a couple of times. "Maybe This Time" has followed Liza from her first solo album in 1964 and maybe this time we didn't need another rendition, but neither this nor the other warhorses sound beaten down or walked through. Not that there are any grand reinventions and rethinkings of them in approach or arrangement (ori ginal arrangers are credited and their work is respected), but they still sparkle and are fused with adrenalin galore. There are a few nice revisits with some more variations, like "My Own Best Friend," a souvenir of the time Liza stepped in for Gwen Verdon on short notice for a few weeks in the original run of Chicago (the first version had been released originally on one side of a 45 rpm single record). They all come across as old friends, as does the singer.
But the real treasure here for those who have most of the recordings of the staples on the shelf or burned in their memories is the stuff not previously visited by Liza. On the first disc, it's historic and pretty darn thrilling to hear Liza sail through the medley of songs associated with vaudeville stars that was a piece de resistance when performed by her mother, Judy Garland, when she played New York's Palace Theatre. Liza sticks close to the well-established maternal footprints saluting Sophie Tucker and others, so this is showbiz history times two. Special lyrics have been written by John Kander, David Zippel and Billy Stritch, in his frequent role as musical supervisor/pianist—and he did some of the arrangements. As usual, he's right on the money and he and new drummer/conductor Mike Berkowitz run a tight ship. Seventeen musicians are credited in all, with five sax players including veteran Gerry Niewood who tragically died in the Buffalo plane crash two weeks ago.
A20big chunk of the album and recent stage act, and its raison d'être and main event for many, is the section saluting entertainer and brilliant vocal arranger Kay Thompson, who contributed work to MGM musicals in the golden age, appearing herself in Funny Face with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. Not at all incidentally, she was Liza's godmother and anchor and friend, so this centerpiece is a tribute. And it is a terrific one: exciting, fast-paced, snazzy and with oomph galore. These songs all appear on the second disc, recreating Kay Thompson's night club act with the harmonizing, dancing Williams Brothers. The guys here are splendid and spunky, bursting with joy and jive with their close and interesting harmonies. They are Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina, Cortés Alexander and Johnny Rodgers (who in recent years has often been her pianist). Yes, folks, this is good old fashioned showbiz fizz: brisk, bouncy, bubbling-over-with-happiness and celebrating the fun side of life and music. The Thompson originals "I Love a Violin," "Jubilee Time" and the uber-chipper opener "Hello, Hello" are dare-you-not-to-smile peppy pleasers, not for the eye-rolling curmudgeons or those looking for depth and drama. This is caffeine triple dose, perhaps more antic and frantic than some might want (and, sure, it was more thrilling on stage with the dance steps and interaction). The talented men sound marvelously buoyant on their own, singing "Liza," the old song by the Gershwins and Gus Kahn that Liza has used as her entrance music for years (Ira Gershwin was her godfather.) But this is far more than infectious fun: it's musical dynamite with very pleasing, often complex vocal harmonies from the men. Understandably, superstar Liza may have received most of the attention, but these guys are super and super-entertaining, doing excellent, careful work and blending wonderfully. All in all, it's a ball.