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The Paul Robeson Legacy - Crescendo & Jazz Music


03 June 2002
Crescendo & Jazz Music
Peter Lund

It must have required considerable courage to dedicate a record to the music of Paul Robeson. This collection of spirituals and ballads is so closely associated with one of the greatest voices the world has known, that comparisons with the original are bound to be made. Willard White, however, is a considerable performer in his own right. He has appeared in opera and concert throughout the world and has huge charisma and vivid stage presence.

This delightful CD also has considerable jazz interest. the accompaniment is provided by a quintet featuring some back to basics trumpet playing by Guy Barker and the excellent arrangements are by the keyboards player, Neal Thornton. there is a superb version of Mood Indigo, which should appeal enormously to the jazz buff. Willard White, has a deep feeling for the Negro spiritual and, as with Robeson, his sincerity shines through.

This is an extremely enjoyable recital of some very memorable music. The interpretations move lightly from humour to profound gravitas as the mood demands and what a voice!


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