Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bobby McFerrin’s “The Wizard of Oz” Performance

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By The New York Times\ALLAN KOZINN

How often have you seen an adult Carnegie Hall audience sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” complete with the hand gestures?

Bobby McFerrin’s Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall mainly confirms what we already know about him: that his musicality runs deep and that he recognizes no stylistic boundaries. Some of his programs return him to his roots as an idiosyncratic jazz singer with a sharp ear for improvisation and a phenomenal circular-breathing technique that lets him spin out long, athletic lines with built-in accompaniments, sometimes augmented by chest thumping to suggest percussion. He also has an uncanny ability to bring out your inner child. (To get the audience to do the movements for “Itsy Bitsy Spider” on Thursday evening he said, “It’s only half a song without the choreography.”)

But the highlight was the finale, an irresistible compressed version of “The Wizard of Oz,” in which Mr. McFerrin mimicked the film’s voices (witches, munchkins and all) and touched on most of its songs.

Bobby McFerrin performs on April 23 at Carnegie Hall; (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org.

This is a short underground video of McFerrin performing "The Wizard of Oz" in Nappa Valley.

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