With BROADWAY BY DAY, Spencer Day refreshes old friends

Taking and revisiting classic musical theater compositions is a time-tested business that has served songwriters and Broadway lovers for decades; it’s a fun way for artists to honor a genre of music that particularly resonates with them, while reaching a niche demographic interested in hearing their favorite songs in new ways. The 70s saw Linda Clifford’s disco version of a Sweet Charity song, while the 90s saw Dionne Warwick reinvent an entire album of Cole Porter songs, in the style of the day, and everyone has their favorite album on the theme of Broadway (this writer prefers Nancy Wilson Broadway, in my way!). This month, Broadway aficionados get to hear some of musical theater’s most famous melodies jazzed up on Spencer Day’s nuanced and imaginative new album, BROADWAY BY DAY.

Whether you’re familiar with Mr. Day’s artistry, style and background or just come to the party because of the Great White Way theme, there’s plenty of fun to be found on the twelve-piece album. songs/forty-three minutes. Choosing (mostly) material from classic musicals by Lerner & Loewe, Lionel Bart and Jerry Herman (the most current musical represented is the 1978 play EVITA), Day seems to favor Rodgers & Hammerstein, featuring three of the songs from the legendary duo on the album, one of them, a “Bali Ha’i” that claims one of the top spots on the song chart. It’s possible to consider that an album from musicals like My Fair Lady, The King and I and Annie might lean into molasses but, rest assured, Mr. Day has gone to great lengths to reinvent the works. in an interesting and unique way. – not unique enough, however, to make them unrecognizable. The songs people know and love are still there – they’re just there to be enjoyed by adults, rather than on a family outing informed by what’s wholesome and pure. It’s Broadway cocktail hour.

Maybe it’s the naturally sensual quality of Mr. Day’s voice, or maybe it’s an incredibly dramatic Latin arrangement with guitarist Eduardo Leon that stands out on the album of “I’d Be Surprisingly Good. for You” but whatever the reason, it works for Spencer… and for Broadway. It’s a treat to savor when Mr. Day duets with jazz great Jane Monheit on a unique HELLO DOLLY! ballad that is, here, a sunny song with jazz intricacies that takes more than a moment to appreciate – when he sat down with his musical team to craft the album, Day didn’t mess around. Each track enters places of musical storytelling that don’t happen every time someone at an open mic says they came to sing “I don’t know how to love it”, and although some of the arrangements get higher notes than others, the entire album can easily be played through from start to finish without ever feeling like the experience has gone a little twee.

With exceptional backup from the album’s musicians, Mr. Day takes his performing skills and lush voice to divine places on two particularly moving numbers here – and the emotion can sometimes be hard to find on a CD of treatments. of jazz. Though Latin-informed, sexy, and worthy of a ride on a dimly lit dance floor, the ballad “If I Loved You” is dripping with nostalgia and passion (helped by the brilliance of Dave Koz on saxophone), and on a surprisingly simple and direct “Losing My Mind”, Day creates a visceral heartbreak without, once, approaching the mark of overflow, as some other singers tend towards this particular Sondheim standard. Both tracks carry the emotional weight of the album (along with a dreamy closing number from a dance-laden Pulitzer Prize winner), allowing Spencer and co. to have fun with the most breathtaking presentations of rhythmic musical evenings on the CD. Indeed, the album is a continual celebration – a celebration, not just of Broadway, but of the artists’ ability to find something new in old things that generations of fans have loved – now they can fall in love again. from them, which can always be a fun experience. After all, everyone has a favorite cast album that they’ve, at some point, listened to over and over but haven’t played in years. Maybe the experience of listening to Broadway By Day will inspire fans to pull out their favorite Jesus Christ Superstar recording (I’ll take the Brown album) or Carousel (Barbara Cook’s studio recording) and enjoy. , along with the memories they inspire, before returning to Spencer Day’s beautiful CD to find something new to enjoy, from his perspective. To that end, Broadway By Day isn’t just a good new album, it’s a catalyst that could lead people down a Broadway rabbit hole – and who doesn’t love a fat Broadway rabbit hole?

Jump.

Spencer Day BROADWAY BY DAY is a 2022 release on the Club 44 label. It is available on all streaming platforms and on the Club 44 website HERE.

THIS is the Spencer Day website.

Jack L. Goldstein