Review by Greg Haymes
As a kid – long before I had a record player of my own, or for that matter any records to play on it – I used to hunker down in front of the big wooden family stereo console in the living room and endlessly rummage through my parents’ record collection, spinning my favorites for hours at a time.
There was a treasure trove of music at my fingertips – albums like Stan Kenton’s West Side Story (my dad’s), Harry Belafonte’s Belafonte at Carnegie Hall (my mom’s), Sarah Vaughan’s Dreamy (my dad’s) and Johnny Mathis’ Johnny’s Greatest Hits (my mom’s).
So as I settled into my seat at Albany’s Palace Theatre earlier this month, I couldn’t help but wish that my mom was there with me. Sadly, it was just more than a year ago that she had passed away, but I could almost hear her quietly sighing and swooning during the show… along with most everyone else in the theater.
Stan Kenton’s gone, and so is Sarah Vaughan. Belafonte is still a monumental presence, but he long ago retired from the concert stage.
But lo and behold, Mr. Johnny Mathis is not only still at it, but he’s also still got it. Oh sure, there was plenty of nostalgia in the air at the Palace, but Mathis proved that his old-school balladeer chops have remained almost impossibly intact even at the age of 77.