Concert/Easy Listening

Norbert Leo Butz: Memory and Mayhem

Live at 54 Below

Performer: Norbert Leo Butz

Distributed By: Broadway Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In mid-January, Broadway Records and 54 Below released a live album series featuring some of the brightest stars on Broadway in concerts recorded live at the Broadway nightclub, located just a few blocks from Times Square.  My first introduction to this series was Norbert Leo Butz: Memory and Mayhem.

            Norbert Leo Butz is an actor and singer who made his Broadway debut as Roger Davis in the musical, Rent.  Since then, he has appeared on Broadway and off-Broadway as Fiyero in Wicked, Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Emcee in Cabaret, as himself in one episode of Smash and much more.  In his debut at 54 Below, Norbert Leo Butz offers up his musical self and gives listeners a taste of what has made him a Broadway musical star.

            While I have to admit that Norbert Leo Butz does have a great singing voice, powerful and imbued with a sexy rough quality that makes it perfect for singing dramatic tracks, I grew bored with this album fairly quickly.  That's not to say that the songs weren't good.  I especially enjoyed Can't Let Go, a duet with Lauren Kennedy, whose voice seems to be a perfect match for Butz.  There was only one song I bristled at - despite the cuteness of the story behind the song, the fact of the matter is that Butz's rendition of Alicia Keyes' No One is horrendous.  I've yet to hear it performed worse.

            And yet, there are some redeeming qualities about Memory and Mayhem.  There are some well performed tracks.  Yet, I was not in the least bit wowed by the performances on this album and found it something I would never purchase on my own.  Fans of Norbert Leo Butz might want to check it out and perhaps download their favorite tracks, but I wouldn't bother buying the album as a whole.  It's simply not worth the asking price.


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