Lorraine Feather: Attachments (2013)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
As expertly-crafted and enjoyable as all of her other recordings, Lorraine Feather's Attachments is her most raw and intimate CD to date. Here, she applies her famously incisive perception, sweet voice, and stunning lyrical gifts to a frank exploration of life's major emotional ties, describing how they can soothe, stretch, and break as they wind through our days on earth.
Naturally these include romantic connectionswhether missed, fulfilled, or simply imaginedbut as usual, Feather vaults over the tired moon/June/spoon territory to offer her unique and thought-provoking view of ordinary things.
For instance, in the sinuous title track, Feather evokes the "silver string of your attachments," a cord which wanders through a familiar series of crushes and lovers, but also embraces the weird guy in the building that everyone looks after. There are songs about love's mysterious glories ("A Little Like This," "We Have the Stars") as well as its gleeful discovery"I Thought You Did" rocks on Dave Grusin's exuberant "Memphis Stomp," first heard in the 1993 movie, The Firm.
A lesser talentand one content to splash around in shallower waterswould probably restrict the attachment consideration to romance. But Feather ranges much wider, providing a splendid appreciation of jazz musicians in general ("I Love You Guys") with sympathy for such indignities as "being made to wear matching vests/being told, 'the nuts are for the guests.'" There's a haunting song about a dear old friend who ended badly ("Anna Lee"), a gorgeous ode to Feather's home ("I Hope I Never Leave This Place"), and a tribute to a tempo ("159") as well as a rascally dog ("Smitten with You").
The most poignant and personal songs come at the end, where Feather shares the lasting heartbreak around the parent you love but can't reach ("The Veil"), and the endless,"ragged" pain over the one you most adored ("True"), which is fittingly set to one of the most soulful and beloved melodies of Bach.
All of Feather's projects are witty. But humor is less central here than it was on songs like "Traffic and Weather," "Where Are My Keys?" and "I Forgot to Have Children," or in her lyrics to the songs of Fats Waller and other famous stridemeisters. For delightful examples of the latter, see New York City Drag (Rhombus Records, 2000) and Fourteen (Relarion, Ink., 2012), where Feather is half of Nouveau Stride with the astonishing young pianist Stephanie Trick.
What links all of Feather's disparate projects is her signature honesty, insight, grace, and intelligence. This is all found in abundance on "Attachments," where the booklet adds to the enjoyment by providing every lyric. But this is more to appreciate Feather's poetry than to decipher her wordsas others have noted, her diction is perfect,as is her pitch. And, as always, her brilliant lyrics are delivered on wonderful melodies, with superb playing all around.
Track Listing: A Little Like This; Attachments; I Thought You Did; Anna Lee; 159; We
Have the Stars; I Love You Guys; I Hope I Never Leave This Place;
Hearing Things; The Veil; Smitten With You; True.
Personnel: Lorraine Feather: vocals; Russell Ferrante: piano (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9,
11); Shelly Berg: piano (6, 7, 10); Dave Grusin: piano (3, 12);
Michael Valerio: bass (1, 2, 4, 5, 7-9, 11), vocals: (5); Grant
Geissman: guitar (1, 5, 9); Eddie Arkin: guitar (2, 5); Michael
Shapiro: drums and percussion (1, 2, 5, 9, 11); Tony Morales: percussion (1) Gregg Field: drums (7); Charles Bisharat: violin (1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12); Bob Mintzer: bass clarinet (11).
Record Label: Jazzed Media