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BWW Album Review: TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL (Original London Cast Recording) Lets Adrienne Warren Shine

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BWW Album Review: TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL (Original London Cast Recording) Lets Adrienne Warren Shine
Cover art courtesy of Ghostlight Records.

The London production of TINA - THE Tina Turner MUSICAL Is slated to transfer to Broadway this fall, but Ghostlight Records is offering audiences a sneak peek into the critically well-received show through their release of TINA - THE Tina Turner MUSICAL (Original London Cast Recording). As a cast recording for a biographical jukebox musical, the album doesn't pack any real surprises; however, it cements Adrienne Warren's star and builds anticipation for her portrayal of Tina Turner on Broadway.

The nuances of the plot are not easily discernible from the tracks alone. But listeners will have no problems following the general rags to riches story of Tina Turner as she goes from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee to being discovered at a singing competition at Club Manhattan hosted by Ike Turner. Then, we hear her go from being a feature vocalist with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, to duetting with Ike Turner, and on to the bona fide solo "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll" she is still recognized as the world over.

On the track "Matchbox," listeners first get to hear Warren really delve into the gritty, rock vocals that most think of when they think of Tina Turner. On "Let's Stay Together" she highlights the softer side of Tina Tuner's voice, capitalizing on her ability sing with tangible soul that is affected by a captivating rock timbre. By the time audiences get to "Higher," Warren is allowing her vocals to fray a little more, projecting the stress of life under Ike Turner's thumb into the songs. Warren's vocals, still dazzling, are rougher hewn, heavily saturated in emotionality, and resonate deeply. The remaining hits on the track list are all sung with aplomb. Standouts include "River Deep - Mountain High," "Private Dancer," "What's Love Got to Do with It," and "(Simply) The Best."

Bringing life to the characterization of Ike Turner, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith creates a multi-dimensional character across his tracks. We see a confident singer with "The Hunter." We feel how he is instantly impressed by Tina Tuner as a young, talented girl on "Matchbox." He seamlessly transforms into the love of her life with "A Fool in Love" before he transitions into a darker force in her life on tracks like "Higher." Yet, the vulnerability shown on songs like "Be Tender with Me Baby" keeps his Ike Turner sympathetic and remarkably human on the album.

Even with all the praise I have offered, TINA - THE Tina Turner MUSICAL (Original London Cast Recording) is not really a compelling listen. Nor is it truly exciting. It's a great showcase for Warren's indefatigable and lustrous instrument even if the songs are performed in ways that do not do truly add or improve upon the original recordings of them.

TINA - THE Tina Turner MUSICAL (Original London Cast Recording) is available now. It can be purchased from Ghostlight Record's webstore, iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold.

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From This Author David Clarke