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

Thomas Quasthoff: Tell It Like It Is

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.

When Stern magazine declared his “the most beautiful voice in the world,” it was in reference to achievements like his Grammy-winning recordings of Schubert, Mahler and Bach. But early on, thanks to older brother Michael, Quasthoff offset his classical education with keen appreciation for Coltrane, Miles and Dizzy, and forged a lifelong fondness for American soul hits that poured forth from the radio in his native Germany.

Five years ago, the celebrated bass-baritone recorded his first, exceptionally good, jazz album. Now, at 52, he strays again, this time to salute the soul brethren, with equally fine results. But unlike the jazz outing, where Quasthoff put a distinct spin on tunes like “Can’t We Be Friends” and “Watch What Happens,” the intent here is often more imitative than interpretive. Clearly, he has carefully studied the originals and wishes to honor them as precisely as possible.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published