Diane Schuur

Midnight

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    8
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On this set, Diane Schuur performs 13 songs written or co-written by Barry Manilow, most of which are new. On first glance, the project may not seem to have much potential, particularly if one thinks of Manilow's pop records. However, other than a charming vocal duet on the closing "Anytime," Manilow is not on this date and the emphasis is on Schuur's beautiful voice. Fortunately, she takes most of the songs pretty straight, sounding at her best throughout. Manilow proves to be an underrated songwriter, contributing some touching ballads and a few swingers while collaborating with some talented and often witty lyricists. A few of the songs are good enough to become standards (though the odds are against it) and there are some short horn solos along the way. Karrin Allyson duets with Schuur on the humorous "Stay Away from Bill," and singer Brian McKnight helps out on "I'll Be There." All in all, Midnight is a surprising success easily recommended to fans of Diane Schuur's voice.

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