Liza Minnelli Cabaret… And All That Jazz Review

Compilation. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

A spot-on summation of an icon’s work.

Ian Wade 2010

There’s really no pussyfooting to be done around this: Liza Minnelli is an actual proper legend. The sort of personality whose very being eclipses all the crimes committed under the term ‘celebrity’ in the last decade. She is proper Hollywood royalty, and one of only a dozen people to have won Academy, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. Amazing can barely begin to cover that.

Though she has released only 11 studio albums in 45 years – her 12th is due this September – there has been almost double that in compilations. Mostly based on the material she’s recorded for a myriad of labels, this anthology tries to encapsulate everything. She’s also had a dozen live albums out, too, highlights of which make up the second disc in this set, along with selections from her Emmy Award-winning TV special, Liza With a ‘Z’.

It’s an extraordinary collection taking in the top moments from her Pet Shop Boys-produced Results set from 1989 and diversions into disco on the likes of Tropical Nights/ Bali Ha’i. It encompasses groovy covers of Where Is the Love?, Oh Babe What Would You Say?, You Are the Sunshine of My Life and the spectacular Use Me, which had a rare-groove style rebirth a few years back. She turns smoky chanteuse on Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight. The live disc shows her on fire in her natural habitat, giving you the full dimensions of the Minnelli experience.

Despite initial reservations of where half the Cabaret soundtrack is (thankfully we’re spared the Sex and the City 2-stealing turn of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies) and the fact that this anthology is shorn of all the real drama of her turbulent life, it is a spot-on summation of an icon’s work which also manages to unearth the odd gem in the process.

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