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SIDE MAN (CD) — “All That Jazz”

February 23, 2011

Side Man (CD) by Warren Leight

LA Theater Works

2 Compact Disks, $25.95

I have long been a fan of LA Theater Works audios. First of all, they remind me of the classic radio programs I grew up with. Plus, you can often zero in on dialogue that might fly past in a stage presentation. And those of us living outside of Manhattan have a chance to sample what is great from Broadway we just couldn’t on commercial radio and TV. Side Man won the Tony award in 1999 for best play and features the lead of that production (who also won a Tony).

But even more important this celebrates post-war jazz and the dysfunctional lives of its musicians. Sometimes it is difficult to  differentiate characters when we have only their voices on the other hand this play has some very funny lines that jump out at the listener, and there is something about this subject that deserves to be memorialized. Perhaps the pros thought this music would always be there. As it turns out it was a phenomenon that faded. Except for some collectors. For the rest of us there is memory…and reminders, like Side Man, that keep the magic alive.

– John Lehman, Rosebud Book Reviews.com

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