Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Meditating on Michael

There’s a guy I know, who for all his fashionable Betty Carter and Frank Sinatra sycophancy, still his fave singer of all time is---no joke---old sunglasses nose herself, Liza Minnelli. His least favorite is Helen Merrill. Is he kidding? No, alas, I don't think so. He also happens to be a major Michael Bublé detractor. When I first met him (I date this to about a year before 9/11), he was allegedly straight with a wife and kids. And so I said to my good friend and constant traveling companion David Ehrenstein:

"There's this guy I met recently whose musical impulses otherwise seem pretty good, Sinatra, Ella et al, but his favorite singer is. . .Eyewwww---Liza Minnelli! He just saw her perform four nights in a row at the Palace and---get this!---he's STRAIGHT." "Not anymore," said David. "Not after seeing Liza four nights in a row, he‘s not." (rimshot) I guess David is right. The last time I saw (let‘s call him) “Jasper,” he was divorced (separated?) and keeping company with the nelliest brain surgeon you ever laid eyes on. Not that there's anything wrong with nelly, but I just hope the guy can at least control his grand gestures in the operating room.

One time, ummmm, Jasper was booked on a segment of Phil Donohue, "The Heartbreak of Straight Men Who Love Liza," but he was bumped at the last minute when the producer caught him making out in the Green Room with another guy. (That's a joke, son.)

But I digress (as is my wont). Not that Michael Bublé needs my support. and he's not getting all that much either, considering the grotesquely high ticket prices they're charging to see him live. I'm convinced that his handlers know that he's more or less a flash in the pan. Grabbing all the gelt while they can. Maybe when he's someday reduced to doing the entre acte at the dogfights in Tijuana, Jasper and his ilk will come around.

Michael Bublé is not trying to channel Frank Sinatra. Not at all. Much closer to Bobby Darin . . .if anyone. And sooooo, whenever I hear someone compare him directly to F.S., my feeling is that they simply have no grounding for saying anything negative OR positive about Bublé. ("School of Sinatra," okay). Take another listen, pal.

I can understand how the Bublé killer lounge act can get on some purists' nerves, but quite frankly, that is what has finally allowed him to become literally the largest selling record act in the world. A small price to pay.

I also like Bublé the quasi rocker. Check out his “Stuck in the Middle With You” on the recent maxi-single, “A Taste of Buble.” So pulsatingly HOT that you'll need revival with smelling salts after listening to it. I do believe that there is a quantifiable quality that has come to be called swing. It can be proven by hooking singers up to a (not yet patented) device of my invention. I've not had a chance to do this yet with Bublé (he's always "too busy"), but I'm more than certain he possesses it in spades. Just listen!

On “Taste of Bublé,” there's also a breathtakingly beautiful “I’ve Got a Crush on You," backed by quartet, with a “Moonlight Serenade” sax counter melody. Breathes new life into the old warhouse.

I'm convinced that the fact that Bublé was raised strictly on standards is a major contributing factor to his musical credibility. Not that there's anything wrong with rock---yeah, sure---but if that's the first musical sounds you ever heard, that pretty much cancels out your ever being able credibly interpret the music of---if you will---an earlier era. Too much pre-adolescent, rhythmically monotonous damage to one's musical DNA. But not necessarily vice versa. To wit, I'm also somewhat fond of Bublé's faux Motown-ish stuff as well.

Bublé has this rattle in his lower register that I've never heard in any other singer. I just KNOW he's a secret smoker.

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