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This album takes off from the Three Tenors and the Three Irish Tenors with three African-American tenors two gifted, one sublime mixing opera, Broadway, sizzling jazz, blues, soul, gospel, and spirituals. Thomas Young has been performing for decades. He has a voice of piercing focus and a knowing sense that " style " means choosing from numerous possibilities. Three Mo Tenors is primarily (and rightly) a showcase for his phenomenal versatility. He sings " Nessun dorma " (with inward seriousness of purpose), " America the Beautiful " and astonishing scat, and his own arrangement of the deranged Annie Ross/Wardell Gray " Twisted. " In " Midnight Train to Georgia " hes even Gladys Knight to the Pips of his two younger colleagues.

Big guy Rodrick Dixon sings the aria with the nine high Cs from The Daughter of the Regiment, and hes even sweeter in Ellingtons " I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart. " Countertenor Victor Trent Cook, a Tony nominee for Smokey Joes Café, seems more at home in a jazzier falsetto. His zoot-suited, hip-swiveling Cab Calloway in " Minnie the Moocher " is more authentic than his show-bizzy " Were You There " one of the few miscalculations. Joseph Joubert leads a terrific band. Marion J. Caffey, whose idea this was, starred as Jelly Roll Morton on Broadway; now, says his bio, he is " completely dedicated to conception, writing and directing. " If his future " conceptions " include Thomas Young, may he conceive away.

(Three Mo Tenors will appear on WGBHs Great Performances next Sunday, August 12.)


Issue Date: August 2 - 9, 2001

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