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Rather than being any sort of Fleetwood Mac tribute act, the show traces the career with a variety of reimagined versions of their massively successful catalogue, most especially Rumours, Quoting the playbill, it is estimated that one in three Canadian households owned a copy of that album.
Some standouts for me were Seven Wonders, a gender reversal version of Stevie Nicks’ Stand Back, and the back-to-back Dreams and Little Lies — both of those songs given a grand new arrangement. The Jefferson Starship track Hearts was another well-performed hit, and in the Airplane segment there were plenty of admirable Grace Slick moments. I’m paraphrasing a spoken section of the show here, but one of the actors comments on how lightning bolts only illuminate for a moment, and that is the feeling here when the show misses. Returning for this latest retrospective of chart-toppers are powerhouses Aurianna Angelique and Katie Beetham (she sings straight into this production directly from her award-winning role in the just-closed Spamalot as the Lady Of The Lake).
Co-created and directed by Randy Jackson (2012’s Summer In The City), this show brings his insight to the music and influence of Fleetwood Mac.
Rumours And Dreams — A Look Back At Fleetwood Mac runs at Stage West Calgary June 25 to August 30, 2015. The way that Norma Winstone tells it, her rise to become one of the world’s most admired and respected jazz vocalists was seemingly simply the result of one happy and even accidental thing after another. The Englishwoman is 72 now, but she has been regarded as one of her country’s top jazz artists for more than four decades.
In the last dozen years, she has been part of a refined trio that can subsume everything from Mexican and Italian folk songs to Madonna to Peter Gabriel into its dreamy sound. That group, which unites Winstone with Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German reedman, makes one of its rare North American appearances Friday in the NAC Fourth Stage. She remembers that when she was seven, she watched Lena Horne perform The Lady Is Tramp in the 1948 film Words And Music, and after she asked her mother after to get the sheet music so that she could learn to sing the song. Through the 1960s, she went from pub gigs to playing with leading English jazz players including Wheeler. The break that made Winstone’s name internationally came a few years later, when Manfred Eicher, the visionary producer behind ECM Records, suggested that Winstone and her husband at the time, pianist John Taylor, record with their fellow Londoner, the trumpeter and Canadian expat Kenny Wheeler.
They formed the trio Azimuth and recorded for ECM, making a sublime chamber jazz in the mid-1970s that was unlike anything that came before it.
For the last dozen years, Winstone has worked with a trio that has roots in what Azimuth did, but is different. Venier and Gesing were playing already together and they invited Winstone to do a concert with her. Winstone collaborates with Venier and Gesing on original compositions too, supplying well-crafted lyrics. Her words for Gesing’s piece High Places were inspired by the French-Canadian film Incendies. I can’t say that I would go so far as to suggest I loved it, but given the depth and breadth of talent in the cast, it is definitely worth seeing.
In true Stage West revue fashion, other songs get the Broadway-style treatment, and include songs from other acts of the time (generally speaking) like Jefferson Airplane, and Heart — both of which had a direct connection to Fleetwood Mac. Something you don’t see very often, given that so many of these actors are recording artists as well, is one of them sitting down at a piano, or pulling out a guitar.
Choreographer Stephan Dickson (here last for Fiddler On The Roof) keeps things moving, and brings animation to a band that was never associated with synchronized dance moves onstage in their heyday, and especially not in their later years. You’ve likely seen his work elsewhere if you like high-end entertainment — his work has appeared in some of the biggest entertainment facilities in the world. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful.
In the jazz world, she is a pure-voiced pioneer of singing wordlessly, using her voice as an instrument blending and interacting with other instruments. Her first LP, bought when she was 15 or 16 with money from a weekend job, was Ella and Louis.
That one-off went so well that this trio has persisted and made four albums, including three for Eicher’s prestigious label. Kudos as I seem to say every time here to musical director Konrad Pluta and his always flawless band.
If you’ve seen the band live, even in the past few years on their reunions tours, that electricity is still palpable, even if many critics don’t seem to believe it. Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena and The Ryman Auditorium are just some of the facilities that have seen his productions on artists as diverse as Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Mike Tyson and Pope Benedict. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse.
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