Stephen Holden on Neil Berg


The NYTimes on the Neil Berg revue at Feinstein’s:

Ten of the 16 songs at Tuesday’s opening-night show were Berg originals, composed by himself or with collaborators on projects in different stages of development. Three are from “Grumpy Old Men” (with Nick Meglin), three others from “The Man Who Would Be King” (D. J. Salisbury) and four, including “The Stream,” a florid piano piece, by Mr. Berg alone.

“Stylistically his music might be described as sub-Frank Wildhorn, meaning gobs of generic melody and lyrics stuffed with romantic and inspirational clichés, with dollops of ersatz gospel, all ready made for belting by large voices. On hand were five singers — Rob Evan, Lawrence Clayton, Luba Mason, William Michals and Rita Harvey (Mr. Berg’s wife) — to do the chores.

“Among the nonoriginals, the David Shire-Richard Maltby song “Patterns,” sung by Ms. Harvey (with Mr. Shire on piano), stood above the rest as a thoughtful meditation on the comforts and drawbacks of habits. In its subtlety and sophistication, it embodies everything Mr. Berg’s songs are not.”




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