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Editorial Reviews

Product description

Daniel Rodriguez ~ The Spirit Of America

Amazon.com

It's said politics makes strange bedfellows. But it's got nothing on the peculiar marriage of art and history inspired by the tragic events of 9/11/01. Before that day, Daniel Rodriguez was a member of New York's finest, working as an NYPD security officer at the Manhattan South precinct. If it seemed an odd calling for a gifted, operatically trained tenor, it was employment many a journeyman artist could relate to: the proverbial "day job." As it turns out, no police academy in the world could have trained Rodriguez for the crucial role his city's darkest hour thrust upon him. While his colleagues mourned their staggering losses and toiled around the clock in rescue efforts, Rodriguez delivered renditions of "God Bless America" that rallied both his city and his country, much as Kate Smith's version of the Irving Berlin patriotic standard had done at the dawn of WWII.

Contemporary jazz great-producer Tom Scott took it from there, showcasing Rodriguez's powerful voice in this deftly arranged album focused sharply on personal and national inspiration. Taking his cue from his own hero, Mario Lanza, Rodriguez instills no small amount of drama in his performances, and it serves him well on tracks like the American folk classic "Shenandoah," a rousing take on "i"Scarlet Pimpernel's "Into the Fire," and the relative Sinatra rarity "The House I Live In." The "God Bless America" here varies from the original single release, with Rodriguez reading the spoken intro once delivered by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Is Rodriguez the greatest tenor of modern times? No. But it's hard to imagine a talent better suited to the challenge history has thrust upon him; we're lucky--make that blessed--to have him. --Jerry McCulley

The Spirit of America

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