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Twisted Broadway
Vol. 1


Artist: Blue Jupiter
Label: Broadway Records
Release Date: 24 November 2017

I’m extremely fortunate to have access to a vast amount of recorded music - locally, without even having to go near the streaming services that seem to be taking over the world. One of the many plus points of being a reviewer, is that you get to hear a massive selection of music you perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise heard. I don’t buy everything that comes out, and I don’t even review everything that comes my way (there just isn’t enough time in the day) but one label that has pride of place both in my personal collection, and also one that I always try and review the majority of releases for, is Van Dean’s Broadway Records. In their relatively short life span, they have won awards, issued two standout Benefit Concert recording on all media, and have revived the cabaret album scene with their wonderful 54 Below recordings. As well as these, and their outstanding Cast Recordings, they from time to time release something unexpected. And they have done it again with Twisted Broadway.

Blue Jupiter’s new album, Twisted Broadway Vol. 1 (An A Cappella Album), delivers classic Broadway show tunes, but each has been twisted: boldly re-imagined in Blue Jupiter’s signature a cappella style that combines soaring pop and Broadway leads over tight harmony and beatboxing.

Listeners will immediately recognize the hits from classic shows like Wicked, Pippin, Porgy and Bess, The Sound of Music, Chicago, The Wizard of Oz, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and more. But they’ve never heard them like this before. Where groups like Post Modern Jukebox deliver modern songs in old fashioned styles, Blue Jupiter prefers time travel in the opposite direction. Twisted Broadway features classic Broadway songs with a wickedly modern, contemporary a cappella sound.

Blue Jupiter’s biggest exposure came from the Lifetime TV show Pitch Slapped. Blue Jupiter’s female lead singer, and star of Pitch Slapped Diana Preisler, alongside members of Blue Jupiter, became known to their loyal audience as they all coached and performed for young a cappella singers weekly, on TV screens across the globe. Blue Jupiter's fan base was earned long before their reality TV stardom from over 15 years of non-stop touring in 48 US states and hundreds of shows in China and Japan, Canada and across the Caribbean. Blue Jupiter is comprised of Diana Preisler, Marty Gasper, Jonathan Minkoff and Jeff Washburn.

Marty Gasper, Blue Jupiter’s beatboxer and producer says, "There are so many great Broadway songs. But how do you shake off the one thing that poisons artistry the most; the one thing that the original composers struggled to banish - how do you banish predictability? For Blue Jupiter, the answer is to find a twist. Use the twist of present to explore the past. Use the twist of harmony and beatbox to tell these timeless stories so that we can hear classic Broadway as if the ink was just barely dry.”

Having first read the announcement of the release, I wasn’t enthused. Something like this can end up being unimaginative and slightly contrived. Whilst I didn’t love every track on the album, it’s a triumph. Blue Jupiter clearly understand the genre. They are obviously talented, and the album is very (VERY) produced, but it’s still a blast. Their take on these standards, and not so standards, is unique and fresh. The opening track ‘I Got The Sun In The Morning’ is a great opener, and sounds fresh. I would have liked to have had more creativity on some tracks ('Magic To Do' and 'Let It Go' for example) and some of the arrangement show up the simpleness of some songs, such as 'Defying Gravity', a little too much, but there are several tracks that are simply wonderful creations. ‘Put On A Happy Face’ is so clever, and I loved the harmonies in ‘Over The Rainbow’, although the reprise I think missed it’s chance to be a wonderful contrast.

A superbly different recording that will entertain for years to come.


Ian Gude

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