Barbra Streisand

One Night Only Live

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Barbra Streisand’s first time back performing in the Village in almost 50 years is a special occasion, a fact obviously recognized by the thrilled audience that was jam-packed into the tiny Village Vanguard (barely ten dozen seats) as well as by Streisand herself, who expertly conjures the intimacy and tenderness needed for such a special program. Her song selection includes a few career touchstones ("Evergreen," "The Way We Were," "Make Someone Happy"), but also includes references to a host of Village or nightclub favorites, led by “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” and “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (the latter of which she uses to reminisce about seeing Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris). With backing from a quartet led by pianist Tamir Hendelman, Streisand sounds confident, energetic, and occasionally reflective about her career in music; she even reaches back to her '60s repertoire to perform a pair of Rodgers & Hart standards, "My Funny Valentine" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." Granted, eight of the other numbers come from her 2009 studio outing, Love Is the Answer, although they're fairly unobtrusive being largely nightclub standards themselves. Surprisingly, the recording excises very little from the original program; Streisand frequently converses with members of the audience (many of whom hold special memories for her), introduces a string of celebrities, and even finds time to ask a young friend how old she is right in the middle of “In the Wee Small Hours” (which Frank Sinatra never would’ve tolerated). Streisand’s vocal craft is peerless as well. Although her strength with the high notes is waning, she remains the same expressive and endearing vocalist she was decades earlier.

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