Director Sidney Lumet's big-budget film version of The Wiz, an updated musical treatment of The Wizard of Oz with songs by Charlie Smalls, is not remembered as one of the great movie musicals. But you wouldn't know that from this elaborate double-LP soundtrack album, on which Smalls' Broadway score is augmented by music written by producer Quincy Jones, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, and Luther Vandross. Jones organized a studio band of New York jazz veterans, including Toots Thielemans, Eric Gale, Michael Brecker, and Richard Tee, and of course the cast provides spectacular vocal firepower in the persons of Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. The result was a Top 40, gold-selling album paced by a Top 40 single of "Ease on Down the Road" by Ross and Jackson (outperforming the 1975 version by Consumer Rapport), as well as the chart single "You Can't Win," by Jackson. Much comparison was made between the vocal (not to mention the facial) resemblance between Ross and Jackson; here's the only place to hear them together.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2