Kristin Chenoweth

The Art of Elegance

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Given Kristin Chenoweth's status as one of the great Broadway stars of the 21st century, it's a little surprising that she hadn't recorded an album of popular standards until 2016's The Art of Elegance. Teaming with producer Steve Tyrell, Chenoweth tackles 12 chestnuts from the Great American Song Book, adding the Tyrell original "You're My Saving Grace" as the album's coda. Lightly swinging and immaculately mannered The Art of Elegance is indeed elegant, an album crafted for the cocktail hour or perhaps a romantic evening that wraps up before the 10 o'clock hour. That's its charm: Chenoweth keeps her power in reserve, gliding through these familiar melodic phrases with ease, and she's matched by Tyrell, who prefers to keep his arrangements crisp and warmly nostalgic. Such soft aesthetics may mean that The Art of Elegance doesn't grab attention, but it wasn't designed to, either. It's meant as a valentine to a bygone era -- whether that's the time when these songs were originally written, or when they were revived in the mid-20th century is a matter of debate, one that doesn't need to be settled because this is a lovely little record by any measure.

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