This is where
LIKE JAZZ differs from other similar shows. Instead of dusting off and
remounting beloved jazz standards, it takes a chance and offers all-new
songs--18 of them, written specifically for LIKE JAZZ by Coleman and the
Bergmans. Their work is not only generous but distinctive, capturing the
essence of jazz convincingly, lovingly. The Bergmans' lyrics are of the
highest order: literate, deep, moving; and Coleman's sophisticated score
(which investigates everything from swing and Afro-Cuban to bossa nova)
benefits from the dynamic orchestrations by Alan Broadbent, Bob Florence,
Tom Kubis, Roger Neumann, Don Sebesky and the late Peter Matz. (The latter's
arrangement of the comic song Cheatin' was, alas, his last).
LIKE JAZZ also succeeds because of its singers, notably Patti Austin, Lillias White and Jennifer Chada, who light up the stage time and time again with their captivating renditions of such songs as He Was Cool (about a sexy sax player), Being Without You (blues) and The Double Life of Billy T. (a bittersweet ballad about the transvestite piano-player, Dorothy Lucille Tipton). Jack Sheldon also delivers two key songs, Don't Touch My Horn and A Little Trav'lin Music (whose complex vocal demands were a struggle for him). Cleavant Derricks scored with his Latin-tinged solo, In Miami.
Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave. For tickets & info call (213) 628-2772 or visit www.TaperAhmanson.com