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Burt Bacharach: At This Time

This CD is a multishaded paean to longstanding hopes and dreams that, though still unfulfilled, remain worthily ardent. Burt Bacharach could easily have titled this grand oeuvre “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Echoing, and occasionally making sly reference, to past glories, America’s elder statesman of jaded romanticism keeps one foot in his musical past (complete with those breezy vocal choruses that were such a Bacharach staple of the mid-to-late ’60s) while planting another firmly in the here-and-now, welcoming the likes of Dr. Dre, Tonio K., Chris Botti, Rufus Wainwright and kindred restless spirit Elvis Costello to enrich this magnificent olio of septuagenarian reflection. Always more arresting than mellifluous as a singer, Bacharach keeps his sandpapery contributions to a minimum, leaving the heavy vocal lifting to younger chords. Instead, he’s content to demonstrate that he’s lost not his authority, or imagination, by pulling quintuple duty as songwriter, arranger, conductor, pianist and producer.

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