Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Kristin Chenoweth: The Art of Elegance

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

If your objective is elegance, you’d be hard pressed to assemble a better team than producer Steve Tyrell, arranger/pianist Alan Broadbent and bassist David Finck, augmented by guitarist Bob Mann, drummer Kevin Winard, feathery waves of strings and polished banks of horns-not to mention a dozen of the most beautiful standards in the Great American Songbook. But such bespoke settings are only as good as the vocalist at their center. Enter Kristin Chenoweth, pixie-like charmer of stage and screens large and small. Her voice is singularly arresting, melding the vivacity of the young Debbie Reynolds, the range and power of Julie Andrews and the sass of fellow Broadway icon Bernadette Peters.

Is Chenoweth a jazz singer? Strictly speaking, no. But anyone who can sell Gershwin, Porter, Arlen, Mercer, Rodgers and Hart, Carmichael and Bacharach gems with such conviction and class deserves respectful attention. She can swing “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” as skillfully as she traces the heart-fluttering folds of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” or mines the quiet desperation of “A House Is Not a Home” and “I’m a Fool to Want You.” To conclude the 13-track program, Chenoweth adds one original. Penned by Tyrell and his late wife, Stephanie, an accomplished TV producer, composer and lyricist, “You’re My Saving Grace,” a countrified ode to the sanctuary of true love, feels a bit out of place, yet it is undeniably fetching.

Originally Published