This article gives a half-decent summary of the album accompanying the film which starred Neil.
Neil Diamond And ‘The Jazz Singer’: Why Cinema’s Loss Was Music’s Gain
Looking back, we have Neil the passable actor and his more lauded musical side, but he was never a darling of the critics and the film’s gestation wasn’t without problems.
I think the album is fantastic and merits a full listen. Beyond the obvious three hits lie songs like Jerusalem, Songs of Life and Amazed and Confused – all above average tracks in my humble opinion. Then the catchy You Baby (which in the film was part of the homage to Jolson, but these days might raise eyebrows) and Summerlove – both well-written songs.
All in all, the album works well and joins, perhaps, Beautiful Noise and Tap Root Manuscript to make a Trilogy of generally coherent contrasting concept albums, aside from Jonathan Livingston Seagull which I feel stands on its own on a cliff as a work of extreme power and depth.
Luckily there are great copies of The Jazz Singer album available on vinyl and CD. Back in the day, it was deemed audiophile enough to even have an expensive version on record and it was revived more recently on LP for the 50th Anniversary and also for Captiol’s anniversary. The CD is good anyway.
After The Jazz Singer, Neil seemed to settle more into the AOR genre and stayed with it, yet the album managed to secure his credentials as more than just what his early stuff did. Bear in mind, this was more than a decade into his career, a time when many artists would simple disappear.
The main shortcoming of the album was the actual film, which is still loved by Neil’s fans in general, but wasn’t by most others. However, one would not exist without the other, and the other would not be remembered without the one, so there we go.
Let’s see if anyone wishes to continue the discussion….