Burt Bacharach, the relaxed king of cool
22 October 2008 - for the opening night of its Electric Proms, the BBC booked Burt Bacharach, the American musical legend, playing on Bösendorfer grand piano!
Burt Bacharach playing on Bösendorfer and guest singer Jamie Cullum
Burt Bacharach in front of the Bösendorfer grand piano
Burt Bacharach looked pretty incredible for 80 years of age, with the relaxed air of a retired tennis coach. And there were some youthful guest stars, like Jamie Cullum and Adele, too, so it lived up to the Electric Proms`remit of "new moments in music".
Bacharach clearly inspired awe among the many musicians on stage, but with one hand in his pocket as he addressed the audience, he was the personification of urbane charm.
Perhaps the first 20-minute medley was too much, too soon, as a run of favourites originally sung by Dionne Warwick flashes by: What The World Needs Now Is Love, Walk On By, I Say A Little Prayer, and more.
The show setled down with a stirring take on Anyone Who Had A Heart, featuring a blasting saxophone solo, and Jamie Cullum sang a creditable version of Make It Easy On Yourself.
Most of the 90-minute set was evidently the work of a major songwriter.
Extracted from the Oct. 23, 2008 "Evening Standard"