Jim Brickman November 3, 2005
Jim Brickman and Friends Enchant Cerritos
By Glen Creason
If the folks at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts were expecting some kind of neo-Liberace, dreamy, piano-romance-fest they must have been a bit surprised on Thursday evening at the Jim Brickman concert. Instead, the large crowd was treated to a long evening of excellent musicianship, self-effacing humor, fine song selection and high-spirited interplay between the headliner and his worthy co-horts, Tracy Silverman and Anne Cochran. Certainly Mr. Brickman DID play a generous amount of his trademark romantic pieces which had the ladies swooning and couples cuddling but his in-between banter and solos by violinist Silverman and songstress Cochran made for just the right blend of levity and love. Brickman has mastered several slices of American popular music and if the adoring multitudes of Cerritos are any yardstick his popularity is rising like real estate prices in the southland. From the humble beginnings as a jingle writer Jim Brickman is practically a franchise in himself today.
The concert was divided into five basic parts: romantic piano ballads, atmospheric tunes, music of Walt Disney films, commercial ventures/ sports song and sweet ballads that are “our songs” in thousands of weddings. Certainly the heart of the show is when Brickman sits at the huge nine foot Yamaha concert grand piano and sends his dreamy love-scapes into the hall as he did for a marvelous medley that included a bouquet of songs we have all heard as the bride and groom take their first spin on the dance floor as Mr. And Mrs. On-Their-Way-To-Forever-Together. “Love of My Life,” “Destiny,” “By Heart,” “the Gift,” and “Valentine” certainly decreased the spaces between lovers in the audience. Other Brickman “romantic” style compositions on a higher plane transfixed the faithful as in “Heaven,” the worthy “Peace (Where the Heart Is), “Heal Me,” and a peak into the near future with “Green sleeves” and “Amazing Grace.” The absolutely amazing violinist Tracy Silverman took a turn on “Serenade” that moved from black leather heavy metal to overalls wearing bluegrass with the touch of his toe. His solos of “Here Comes the Sun” and “Ave Maria” to open the second half provided a perfect variety to the piano foundation of Brickman.
This is not to forget the role of singer Anne Cochran, a comrade of Jim Brickman going back to their youth in Cleveland. Anne added beauty, wit and a strong voice to tunes such as “After All These Years,” a soaring “the Gift” and a concert highlight “We’re All Alone” which actually put Brickman in the background for a rare four minutes. Ms. Cochran also provided much humor in the very amusing question and answer period with her droll answers. Her presence allowed the headliner to show his funny side when they traded barbs and stories of his days in commercials hawking the likes of Cheerios, Pontiac, 7-Up, and McDonalds. This lead into his eventual work composing music for the Olympics which he demonstrated with two rousing works “Freedom” and “Heroes Dream.” A medley of Disney tunes including “Beauty and the Beast” “Someday My Prince Will Come” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” proved so popular that when the show wound to a close the crowd brought Mr. Brickman back out for a delicate encore of “When You Wish Upon a Star” that was a fitting end to a starry-starry night.