By Amy Longsdorf
Listening to “The Best Is Yet to Come,” a 13-track tribute to the late, great Broadway composer Cy Coleman, you’d never know he wrote some of the most infectious, buoyant music this side of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning.” Overseen by producer/arranger/piano player Dave Palmer, the CD enlists a dozen left-of-center female artists, including Fiona Apple and Madeleine Peyroux, to interpret selections from the Coleman songbook.
With a few exceptions, the singers turn bubbly tunes like “Hey Look Me Over” and “The Best Is Yet to Come” into tiresome dirges.
On the plus side, Jill Sobule brings a playful energy to “I’ve Got Your Number,” Nikka Costa turns “The Rules of the Road” into a sultry ballad, and Julianna Raye re-invents “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life” as a soothing samba.
Among the worst entries are Sam Phillips’ torturous crawl through “You Fascinate Me So” and Perla Batala’s awkward reading of “Hey Look Me Over.” Newcomer Sarabeth Tucek fares better with “Where Am I Going,” a mist of a song which seems to float by on a meditative haze.
Oddly, many of Coleman’s best-known tunes like “Witchcraft,” “Big Spender,” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now” are not included, which is probably just as well.
Release Date: 9/15/09
Official Site: www.cycoleman.com
[Amy Longsdorf’s entertainment coverage has appeared in Blender, People, the Chicago Tribune, the Toronto Star, and Newsday. She doesn’t want to imagine a world without Preston Sturges movies, Stax singles, and the music of Bob Marley.]