Picks and Pans Review: Demi-Centennial

updated 02/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Rosemary Clooney

Sorry, but this is not the place to look for a cool, calm and collected discourse on the voice that critics have long likened to a cello. Quite simply, Clooney, who is celebrating her 50th anniversary as a "girl singer," has no peer. As the title of this album suggests, Clooney is taking a look back. Sometimes it's con brio (she and niece Cathi Campo join forces for a full-bodied "The Coffee Song"). Other times the tone is self-mocking (she gets another go at one of her dialect novelty hits, "Mambo Italiano,") or reflective. Stephen Sondheim's "Old Friends," is effectively bookended with radio broadcasts featuring Clooney, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. She lovingly acknowledges Tony Bennett in a touching "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Clooney's vibrato has narrowed, and she can no longer stretch some notes. But her taste, musicianship, simplicity and directness, the voice that's equal parts sun and seductiveness—they are all here and accounted for. Everything's coming up Rosie. (Concord Jazz)

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