Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Croon: When a Whisper Became a Song
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
Review by William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's recent reviews of Billy Elliot and Young Frankenstein


Todd Murray
Photo Courtesy of toddmurray.com
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presented Todd Murray in his program Croon: When a Whisper Became a Song which traces American popular singing from just before the invention of microphones into the modern area. Backed by a fine quartet led by Alex Rybeck, Mr. Murray used a beautiful instrument, a keen sense of what made his predecessors great, and a new version of an old fashioned ribbon mic to entertain the audience and, at least for me, call up memories of the great songs of yesterday.

Todd Murray took the stage wearing a beautiful tux and looking utterly dapper. His stage deportment was totally classy, his rapport with the audience easy and unaffected. His chatter was informative but not fussy; this is a polished performer.

The first half of the show took us up the beginning of the rock era and was more to my tastes than the second half which took us forward from there. Highlights of the first half included "The Nearness of You" (Mr. Murray really understands how to phrase these gorgeous songs), "You Are Too Beautiful," a beautiful Rodgers and Hart tune which I thought belonged to Bing Crosby but was really introduced by Al Jolson, "You'll Never Know," "I've Got You Under My Skin," (a broad tip of the hat, had he been wearing one to Frank Sinatra's version), and for a break from the ballads, "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

The second half highlights included "If Ever I Would Leave You" (with a light bossa-nova beat), "This Guy's in Love with You," "You'll Never Find" (Another Love Like Mine), "I'm Your Man" (the late Leonard Cohen), and "That's All."

All of this was accompanied by one of the best collaborative pianists in the business, Alex Rybeck, assisted by Sean Harkness on guitar, Steve Doyle on bass (great vocal back-up fellas), and Dan Gross at the drums. (A special thanks to Alex Rybeck for the conversation about mentoring after the show, you gave me an interesting perspective.)

Thanks to Sarasota Artist Series Concerts for bringing this fine show to the Historic Asolo Theater, I had a great time.

Croon: When a Whisper Became a Song was presented November 12 and 13, 2016, by Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota at the Historic Asolo Theater, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida. Box Office 941 306-1201. For more information, please visit artistseriesconcerts.org/.


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