Rebecca Kilgore / Dave Frishberg: Why Fight the Feeling? (2009)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Pianist Dave Frishberg describes Frank Loesser as his hero, succinctly describing the importance of Loesser to songwriters everywhere. Loesser could have no better champions than vocalist Rebecca Kilgore and Frishberg. They make the art of interpreting song seem natural and easy, despite the fact it's truly a craft to get to the heart of a great song so elegantly and simply. These two are relaxed and deeply in tune with what makes a great song and a great performance. Here they take on tunes both famous and obscure from the Loesser oeuvre17 in allstill just a small fraction of the composer's prolific output.
Frishberg once called "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" a perfect song and so it's an appropriate vehicle to hear how two masters can 'improve' upon perfection. Kilgore makes it resonate emotionally for both its specific season and for the rest of the year too. We hear the rarely sung verse and the two achieve a breathtaking intimacy.
These songs have a little of everythinghumor, pathos, intelligenceand often all in the same piece. Try "Let's Get Lost," which Chet Baker took in a wisp of blue. Frishberg and Kilgore find the blue too but there's more than a hint of Latin in Frishberg's brilliant accompaniment as Kilgore anticipates getting away.
The album closes with two true show-stoppers. Kilgore finds the architecture in "I Believe in You" (from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) and reveals just how terrific an actress she can be. And Frishberg complements her artistry by following her emotional lead. "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" comes from Guys and Dolls and what pianist and singer accomplish is combining personal expression with the feel of an entire Broadway cast rocking the house. This kind of magic can be found throughout this collection.
Track Listing: Thank Your Lucky Stars; Let's Get Lost; Can't Get Out of This Mood; The Lady's In Love with You; Say It (Over and Over Again); Then I Wrote the Minuet in G); Somebody Somewhere; The Moon of Manakoora; On a Slow Boat to China; I Wish I Didn't Love You So; Says My Heart; What Are You Doing New Year's Eve; Sand in My Shoes; What A Rhumba Does to Romance; Why Fight the Feeling?; I Believe in You; Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat.
Personnel: Rebecca Kilgore: vocals; Dave Frishberg: piano.
Record Label: Arbors Records