Michael Feinstein

The Michael Feinstein Anthology

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

With selections drawn from three releases dating back to 1987 and up to his 1996 Gershwin collection, this anthology demonstrates not so much that Feinstein is a great singer, but that he is a kind of Barry Manilow for people with long memories. The appeal of the two artists is almost identical -- their arrangements lush and melodramatic, their performances wringing maximum impact from modest resources. What's different is that Feinstein, rather than emphasize original material, has nourished a career on the Great American Songbook. As a result, when he lapses into more contemporary, non-classic material, the gap in quality becomes obvious; you can't mistake songs like "My Favorite Year," which for all intents and purposes could have been made to order for Manilow, for anything as deathless as the lode of Rodgers & Hart, Berlin, Porter, and especially Gershwin titles, familiar and obscure, offered here. The live tracks show Feinstein at his freest, exuberantly working the melody and engaging the audience. By comparison, on the orchestral tracks he seems to focus more consciously on his delivery -- which, given the limitations of his voice, is not his strongest point. Treatments of his voice in the studio tracks can also be distracting; on "Wonder Why" and "That's Entertainment," for example, it has an odd, tank-like echo that doesn't blend well with the arrangement. When these treatments are minimized and Feinstein has unfettered access to the material, his interpretations often take on a delicate charm, as on "Someone to Watch Over Me," during sections where the orchestra drops out, and especially on his touching rendition of "Old Friend." For critical listeners as well as fans, though, there's no question that these two CDs brilliantly depict Feinstein's essence and oeuvre.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:13
2 5:04
3 2:25
4 3:19
Inside U.S.A., musical play
5 3:11
6 2:54
7 3:47
8 3:55
9 3:14
10 3:38
11 4:44
12 4:28
13 1:49
14 3:12
15 2:37
16 4:24
17 2:54 Amazon
18 2:06
19 3:34
20 3:01
21 5:31
22 3:47

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:07
2 3:54
3 3:30
4 3:54
5 4:59
6 3:03
7 3:01
8 3:56
9 2:46
10 3:20
11 2:39
12 4:40
13 7:06
14 3:02
15 2:58
16 3:18
Work(s)
17 5:51
18 3:19
19 4:15
20 3:16
21 3:08
blue highlight denotes track pick