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The Last Concert by Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney: The Last Concert documents and "freezes in time" the last recorded performance of "America’s Favorite Girl Singer," who passed away in June of 2002. Along with the Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra and Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack Big Band, both under the direction of Matt Cattingub, Clooney performs a swinging set of songs associated with her long and well-storied career.

The concert opens with an instrumental Overture performed by the orchestra comprised of a medley of some of Clooney’s better known hit songs such as "Tenderly," "White Christmas," "Half As Much," "Sisters," and "This Old House." After a brief monologue in response to her audience’s applause at her introduction, Clooney launches into the light and swinging "Sentimental Journey." Her set continues with "I’m Confessin’ That I Love You," "Just In Time," "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe," "You Go To My Head," "Rockin’ Chair," "Ol’ Man River," and "They Can’t Take That Away From Me." Throughout the set, the highly skilled and musically refined musicians of the Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra and the Copa Cat Pack Big Band demonstrate tight, well-balanced and swinging accompaniment to Clooney’s relaxed and amicable vocal stylings.

Rosemary Clooney: The Last Concert should not be viewed merely as an icon of a performer who is no longer with us, nor only as a collector’s item for serious fans. Clooney’s performance and that of the orchestra and big band backing her is an excellent collection of standards performed at a very high level. Clooney’s voice is strong and agile and she demonstrates the qualities of an experienced professional. Also, because the recording is of a live performance, the listener is perhaps able to grasp more firmly onto Clooney’s sense of humor and personality not only in her song stylings, but also in her dialog in between musical numbers. This recording was made not long after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and her rendition of "God Bless America" as a finale is not only very moving, but also a very timely and appropriate conclusion to her performance.

Rosemary Clooney: The Last Concert certainly would be a "must have" for serious fans of Rosemary Clooney, and even for those discovering her for the first time during the recent Renaissance of her career. The CD would also be a nice addition to anyone’s collection as it contains strong performances of familiar vocal standards by a wonderful singer.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rosemary Clooney
  • CD Title: The Last Concert
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Concord Records
  • Musicians: Rosemary Clooney, vocals. Guest orchestra: Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra with Matt Catingub, conductor.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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