Title - 'New York Minute'
Artist - John Wetton and The Les Paul Trio
New York Minute is an intimate album showcasing Asia and King Crimson lead vocalist John Wetton, together with The Les Paul Trio showcasing some of his most favored cover versions. All done with his highly distinctive voice at the helm, this album of covers - which also includes a track from his Asia days along with one of his very own solo pieces - may not seem the sort of thing to get hearts racing, but ably backed by The Les Paul Trio, he manages to put a new, and interesting, piano jazz-infused tinge on the songs.
As a singer, bassist and songwriter, Wetton initially rose to fame as the lead singer of King Crimson and thereafter Wetton formed UK with Eddie Jobson and later he was the lead singer for the supergroup Asia, his biggest commercial success. On New York Minute, Wetton takes his love for his fellow artists and brings them to life some of their amazing songs in a way he would have believed they themselves would appreciate.
1. 'Do It Again' (4:03)
2. 'What's Going On?' (4:13)
3. 'God Only Knows' (3:39)
4. 'Can't Find My Way Home' (3:20)
5. 'All Along the Watchtower' (4:04)
6. 'New York Minute' (4:59)
7. 'Lady Madonna' (2:26)
8. 'Heat of the Moment' (4:47)
9. 'Battle Lines' (5:52)
But not everything works here, sadly. As he has gotten older, his voice seems to have lessened, those top notes now inaccessible. Indeed, the one before last time Asia show I saw (2013), he also seemed to be going through the motions on stage too. I know the original band broke up a little on that last tour, so maybe he had that on his mind.
Regardless, here on this live album, recorded at the Iridium in New York in 2013, aside from raising awareness of testicular and prostate cancer during the show, Wetton and The Les Paul Trio - Lou Pallo / guitar, Nicki Parrott / acoustic and electric bass, vocals, and Carlton Holmes / piano - bring us known hits such as 'Do It Again.' 'What's Going On,' 'All Along the Watchtower,' and even a very impressive rendition of 'Lady Madonna.'
Wetton has long had a justified respect for Wilson's compositions, as evidenced by his charming tribute to the Beach Boy, 'Voice of America,' but here on 'God Only Knows' he seems to aimlessly drift through the song. I mean, his half-hearted renderings of his own 'Heat of the Moment' and 'Battle Lines' is enough to make this Asia fan bow his head in utter sorrow. Running at only 37 minutes, New York Minute is music at it's finest, of that have no doubt, but it's just the quality of Wetton's devotion to the tracks that worries me, sorry.