Catherine Dupuis's latest album, Rules Of The Road, displays a vibrant collaboration between Dupuis and pianist/arranger/composer Russ Kassoff. The title cut refers to the Cy Coleman tune recorded by the late Rosemary Clooney (henceforth spoken of in the first person for her lingering influence on the so-called "girl singers ). Dupuis and Clooney do different things vocally, but they share some traits as vocalists.
First, both exude warmth and happiness live and in recording; such natural bonhomie cannot be taught. (Although Dupuis did receive serious training in the studio of opera star Eileen Farrell at Indiana University and holds an M.F.A. in Acting and Movement from Penn State.) Second, both use full-horned arrangements to maximum advantage.
Kassoff's arrangements on this release recall the easy, spirited feel of the jazz orchestras preferred by Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Clooneyeven if the tune in question is a contemporary number like "Beginnings, by the 1970s rock group Chicago, or one of Kassoff's three originals on this CD. To complete her own jazz orchestra Dupuis brought an all-star lineup into the studio: Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), Ted Nash (alto sax), Martin Wind (bass), and Marvin Stamm (trumpet/flugelhorn), to name a few. Dupuis's sure-footedness with a melody and a scat solo offer a splendid complement to Kassoff's seamless arrangements.
If Dupuis and Kassoff collaborate well in digital format, it is no less so live. The two appeared at the Jolly Madison's Whaler Bar on June 7 in a tribute performance to Cole Porter, whose birthday was June 9. (One can imagine that Porteralong with Sinatra, Garland, and Clooneyenjoyed the show in absentia.) Dupuis is no stranger to Porter's melodies; she boasts strong credits in musical theater and has recorded several Porter tunes on previous albums.
Still, a whole evening of Porter tunes might prove a daunting task in the execution. Dupuis and Kassoff met the challenge with a series of inventive numbers: a humorous rendition of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare from Kiss Me Kate; "Do I Love You as a rumba; and a bold, percussive rendering of "So In Love, with Martin Wind bowing a bass solo.
Track Listing: The Rules Of The Road; I Have Dreamed; Beginnings; Someone At Last; Wonder Why; I Remember; I've Never Been In Love Before; When He's Near My Piano; The Best Is Yet To Come; You're Everything; Who Will Buy; You Are All The World To Me; Lonesome Road.
Personnel: Catherine Dupuis: vocals; Russ Kassoff: piano; Martin Wind: bass; Rick Cutler: drums, percussion; Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar; Marvin Stamm: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ted Nash: alto sax; Lawrence Feldman: flute, soprano sax, alto sax; Bruce Bonvissuto: trombone; Emedin Rivera: percussion; Joe Cohn: guitar; Dan Block: alto sax, flute; Laura Seaton-Finn: violin; Susan Lorentsen: violin; Roger Squitero: percussion.