“There’s a bit of a problem that comes along with being wrapped up in art of the highest caliber. Idina Menzel may very well have to sing “Let It Go” for the rest of her life and “You’re the One That I Want” from “Grease” probably haunts John Travolta to this day. Performers and their iconic works are inextricably linked, for better or worse.
So the question is: How will Leslie Odom Jr. rise up (“Hamilton” fans, go ahead and call out the unintended play on show lyrics) above the towering shadow of a cultural phenomenon? Odom has found the answer: Release a jazz album amid Tony Award chatter. Instead of allowing his celebrated performance as Aaron Burr to guide his career, Odom produced the album in the residual glow of success. This isn’t Aaron Burr. This is wholly Leslie Odom Jr., man of supreme talent.
Odom released a variation of the self-titled album in 2014, but a jazz album put out by a semi-obscure theater performer is apparently a tough sell. The earlier Leslie Odom Jr. was composed of an unfocused nine-song tracklist, albeit full of lovely vocals and imaginative arrangements. The 2016 reworking streamlines the original release and engages in a more focused narrative, one of maintaining optimism and relishing in love.“