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Sammy's Back On Broadway

Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Album Review

Presumably the reference to Sammy Davis, Jr.'s return to the Great White Way correlates with his appearance in the lead of the musical adaptation of Golden Boy. The play ran from October 20, 1964, through March 5, 1966, at the Majestic Theatre and allowed Davis to emphasize his enormous gifts as an actor and vocalist. Under the direction of and in collaboration with conductor/arranger Claus Ogerman, Davis reinvents a dozen showstoppers. Although the 1965 album was filled with concurrently modern selections, the mixture of enduring classics and lesser-known material further exemplifies the artist's impeccable taste and performance style. What Sammy Davis, Jr. and/or Broadway collection would be complete without a nod to Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse? There are, in fact, a trio of tunes from their most recent offering at the time, The Roar of the Greasepaint...The Smell of the Crowd. These include the boundlessly joyful opener "A Wonderful Day Like Today" and the refined and jazzy "Look at That Face," as well as one of the unmitigated highlights, a sexy, mod, and deliciously swinging interpretation of "The Joker." The Richard Rodgers/Stephen Sondheim-scored Do I Hear a Waltz? produced a pair of outstanding entries as well. While the lilting title track recalls some of Rodgers' work with former partner Oscar Hammerstein II, it is the gorgeous and haunting "Take the Moment" that makes this platter particularly memorable. Of further interest are the heartfelt "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, "The Other Half of Me" — which Davis sings with such verve it seems practically autobiographical — and the perennial favorites "Hello Dolly" and "People." [In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music issued Sammy's Back on Broadway after a nearly 40-year absence.]

Biography

Born: 08 December 1925 in Harlem, New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Recognized throughout much of his career as "the world's greatest living entertainer," Sammy Davis, Jr. was a remarkably popular and versatile performer equally adept at acting, singing, dancing, and impersonations — in short, a variety artist in the classic tradition. A member of the famed Rat Pack, he was among the very first African-American talents to find favor with audiences on both sides of the color barrier, and remains a perennial icon of cool. Born in Harlem on December 8, 1925, Davis...
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