CastAlbums.org: REVIEW: New solo discs from Cheyenne Jackson and Jose Llana

Originally published on CastAlbums.org.

Jose Llana: AltitudeThis summer, two of Broadway’s leading men released new recital discs capturing studio versions of recent concert set lists: Jose Llana‘s Altitude, based on his Lincoln Center American Songbook concert of last year, and Cheyenne Jackson‘sRenaissance, adapted from the “Music of the Mad Men Era” pops concert he’s performed with a number of different orchestras.

Llana’s album is largely a career retrospective, featuring songs from On the Town,Saturn Returns (aka Myths and Hymns), The King and I, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Here Lies Love, with a few additional songs from both Broadway and the world of pop. The songs from On the Town (“Lonely Town“) and Saturn Returns (“Icarus,” “Hero and Leander,” and the title number) are particularly welcome, as neither production resulted in original cast albums and the material highlights what Llana does best: sensitive singing right at the border of art song and pop. Continue reading

Flavorpill: Jose Llana Thrills at American Songbook at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Flavorpill.

jose llana

Jose Llana’s American Songbook concert had no title or theme. He sang songs from shows he’s appeared in, a few pop numbers from the likes of Billy Joel and George Michael, and one ballad in Tagalog from his uneasy attempt at pop stardom in the Philippines. Despite the fairly standard cabaret structure, there was nothing ordinary about what happened on the stage of The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center on Thursday night. Llana demonstrated that he is an exceptionally versatile performer, thrilling the audience with contemporary pop songs and Broadway standards alike. Continue reading