The Bottom Line
Released on Sept. 25, 2009, Joshua Bell's At Home with Friends
quickly became one of Amazon.com's top selling classical music albums, and after listening to it, it's easy to see why. As the album's title suggests, the music is performed by Bell and various guest artists that Bell has met over the course of his career, including Kristin Chenoweth, Sting, Marvin Hamlisch, Chris Botti, Josh Groban
, and more. If you're looking for an album with an easy approach and laid back atmosphere, look no further.
- Intimate music with a laid back atmosphere and laissez-faire approach
- Delightful and eclectic mix of "friends" and music
- Great for car rides and Sunday afternoon listening
- If you're looking for Joshua Bell in a purely classical setting, look elsewhere
- Released: September 25, 2009
- 1 CD, 16 Tracks
- Total Play Time: 1.2 Hours
Guide Review - Joshua Bell - At Home with Friends
At Home with Friends opens with a lovely version of the famous blues tune "I Loves You Porgy" from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess
. Bell is accompanied by Chris Botti on the trumpet. Botti's vanilla smooth tone combined with Bell's warm voice-like timbre makes this piece truly beautiful. Following this track is "Come Again" with vocals by Sting. This is perhaps my least favorite song on the album. No offense Sting, but I like you better when you're singing about a Brand New Day
. Sting's light and breathy voice just isn't suited for classical music. Speaking of voices, Josh Groban's duet with Bell is quite nice, though not as electrical as other Groban songs like "You're Still You." Also on the album is "Para Ti," with Tiempo Libre. This is another song I'm not crazy about. Its melodies are not as enjoyable, and its repetitive musical theme is annoying. Bell and Tiempo Libre performed "Para Ti" on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
, but I'm not sure why. There are definitely better songs on the album. Kristin Chenoweth lends her stellar voice for "My Funny Valentine." Though she's no Sarah Vaughan, Chenoweth gives a brilliant and memorable performance, not to mention Bell's exquisite violin playing. "I'll Take Manhattan," the album's closing piece, is also worth mentioning. It features Marvin Hamlisch on piano, and, of course, Bell on violin. Bell's meticulous and calculated notes seem so improvisational, it astounds me how easy and effortless he makes it seem. I've never heard a violinist play as well as Bell.
Other artists featured on At Home with Friends include Carel Kraayenhof, Edgar Meyer, Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, Frankie Moreno, Nathan Gunn, Regina Spektor, Dave Grusin, Chris Thile, and Anoushka Shankar. To listen to the album in its entirety for free, visit JoshuaBell.com.