Alan Bergman

Lyrically, Alan Bergman

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Listening to an Alan Bergman album where he sings his own songs will force listeners to realize that the same man was responsible for writing one of Frank Sinatra's breeziest finger-snappers, "Nice 'n' Easy," as well as the metaphysical cypher "The Windmills of Your Mind." What the songs of Bergman and his wife, Marilyn, have in common is a bittersweet wistfulness, an autumnal nostalgia at life passing by as we watch it go (or ignore it until our twilight years). Their songs speak to promise but also regret. In the notes, Marilyn tells the story of "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," which was the result when film director Richard Brooks requested a song that could be played over the beginning of a relationship and also, with lyric and music unchanged, after the relationship had been broken. Like virtually all great songwriters, Bergman has excellent interpretive skills when he turns to singing the song, but his voice is noticeably weak. The arrangements of Jörg Keller and Jeremy Lubbock tend to make a virtue of his faults, and occasionally, Bergman himself turns it to his advantage; the naked beginning of "The Windmills of Your Mind" couldn't be any more spine-tingling -- except if the lyrics made any earthly sense.

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