Here’s a rocking good version of one of my favorite Sondheim songs from ‘Follies’, the intricately prosaic and wonderfully sour ‘Buddy’s Blues’. It’s performed by Alexander Gemignani and was part of the Sondheim 90th birthday virtual TV concert, which thanks to the pandemic gave us performances via Zoom. Yet Gemignani actually makes the Zoom limitations work for him. His isolated space in a rather cozy little home office becomes oddly claustrophobic as the singer is forced to stay within the zoom-bound frame and spin around in his chair for movement. The more hysterical Buddy’s declarations of his issues become, the more the tight little space which he is forced to perform in becomes indicative of the mind of Buddy, spinning wildly and clearly unable to break out of his own isolation. I had the pleasure of working with Alex on a workshop production of a musical I wrote called ‘Buddy’s Tavern’ which was based on my film ‘Two Family House’. I recall having a coffee with him and both of us discussing our mutual love of jazz. We were somewhat astounded to find out that our mutually favorite recording was Sarah Vaughn’s version of ‘I’ve Got The World On A String’ on a Norman Granz Pablo record of the early 80s (Oscar Peterson on piano, Joe Pass on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, Louis Bellson on drums etc.) And that’s all she wrote…


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