Matthew Morrison et al.
As I’m not a Glee watcher (I only made it partway through the pilot), I can only judge Matthew Morrison’s self-titled debut on its own merits, not within any context from the hit TV show. What you have here is a set of 10 songs, featuring three high-profile duets (with Elton John, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sting), plus a bevy of tunes penned by the singer and a number of collaborators. Morrison—who comes with a Broadway background—has a big, pleasing voice that slides well into the material. His own pop songs are a little lacking, but his turn at standards, including a gorgeous version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with Paltrow, impresses the ears. Meanwhile, the duet with Elton John—a medley of “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and “Rocket Man”—has the two voices finding their own on the piece. Elton John’s huskier, deeper tones provide an anchor to Morrison’s lighter, higher voice. Morrison performs at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on June 18.