Betty Buckley has a fabulous career going, starring in films, TV and musicals beginning with her 1969 Broadway debut in the show 1776. Along the way she picked up a prestigious Tony for her role in Cats. In her debut for the label, Concord Records has put to disk a live performance before what sounds like a large audience at the Donmar Warehouse in London, backed by her long time musical director, excellent pianist Kenny Werner. Although billed as a set of eclectic material from a wide variety of musical genre, Buckley focuses on songs from the stage, leaning toward writers for the contemporary musical theater, such as Tina Landau, Adam Guettel, Gretchen Cryer and especially, Ricky Ian Gordon. Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding, this is not a jazz performance, despite the presence of Werner. It is a recital where Buckley takes the opportunity to display her one of a kind skill to tell stories put to music. Nowhere is this talent more stunningly wielded than on the "Poet's Medley". Here she sings poems by Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Emily Dickinson, three forerunners of the feminist movement although they probably didn't know it at the time they wrote these verses. On this track, as well as others, Werner takes a solo in a classical sonata manner, fitting to the occasion. In fact, most of the presentation is gentle, sentimental and sometimes melancholy, while the band renders an upbeat, medium tempo spin on "Just the Way You Look Tonight".
Stars and the Moon is a compelling performance by a consummate artist and is recommended especially for those who enjoy hearing the vocal art at its best. Visit Betty at www.bettybuckley.com.
Personnel: Betty Buckley - Vocal; Kenny Werner - Piano; Jamey Hoddad -Percussion; Tony Marino - Bass