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It Started with a Dream

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Album Review

The legendary songwriter has released a good handful of recordings as an artist over the years, and, if songs here like the peppy, swinging "Nothing to Do but Dance" are any indication, has a pleasant facility for bringing his own genius to life. This is a joyful collection of his classics, ranging from the Frank Sinatra hits "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come" to Nat King Cole's "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life." Yet it's clear that, despite Coleman's whimsical piano work, a tight trio, and colorful arrangements, vocally he's hardly matching the versions we're most familiar with. Sing the songs Sinatra and Cole sang and that's to be expected. The true uniqueness of the set is not in the songwriter's interpretations of familiar hits, but the lesser-known songs like "I Love My Wife/It Amazes Me" and "September's Coming," which follows the theme and tone of Johnny Mercer's "Autumn Leaves." Another charmer, done beautifully with sweeping brass and strings, is the magical title track, composed for a musical currently in development. Marketing wise, this disc will crossover to people who never heard of Cy Coleman due to the inclusion of a new rendition of "The Colors of My Life" (from the musical Barnum) by Tony Bennett. Bennett popularized many classic Coleman songs, so this is a fitting, magnificent reunion of sorts. On a nostalgic level, you'll realize that they don't write 'em like this anymore. The good news is these will last forever.


Born: June 14, 1929 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Cy Coleman did have smll impact on jazz scene, but his major importance comes as composer and force in theater. He had a recital at Steinway Hall at the age of six, and was playing Manhattan super clubs at 17. Coleman formed a trio in 1948 while still a student at New York College of Music. He began to attract attention with two hit singles he wrote done by Frank Sinatra in the '50s; "Try to Change Me Now" and "Witchcraft." He also penned "Firefly" for Tony Bennett in 1958. The musical "Wildcraft"...
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