The release of a new Lorraine Feather recording consistently brings a sense of excitement and delicious anticipation. What does this gifted singer-lyricist who, like a figure-ground illustration simultaneously brilliant at both, have in store for us? More than likely, if she's true to her own Muse, I'd suppose it's going to be a sublime rendering of relationship-themed, thoughtfully poetic, yet sparkling verbiage that's delivered paired with highly stylized and impeccably-performed music. In the case of Flirting with Disaster the supposition is dead-on.
Working once again with ace composers-collaborators Eddie Arkin, Russell Ferrante, Dave Grusin, Shelly Berg and a terrific rhythm section, Feather settles into eleven emotion-stimulating original renderings. There's no falling back on the faux security of GAS material for this high-wire artist. Like a Wallenda (would you believe she actually incorporates that surname in one line?), she works sans net, fearless and supremely confident about what she's offering, risks be damned.
Although there's an adequate mix, the fare is predominantly slower, thoughtful, and for the most part, artful and Impressionistic ("Feels Like Snow," "The Last Wave," "Wait for It"). The compositional elements are melodically unique and provide Feather ample opportunity to demo her extraordinary ability to color her lyrics. She has superior vocal chops, impeccable diction, and an innate poetic sense of phrasing. Even the hip-hoppity "I'd Be Down with That" demos her versatility. Her overdubbing is exact ("Be My Muse") and is incorporated judiciously. As lyricist, Feather is pure emotion and wit, splattering tons of "touches," "hands," "hearts" and more across her offerings. She can milk a phrase with a sly glee that tickles interest and provides a tease of what might be coming next. Her lines never disappoint.
The team supporting this Feather are heavyweights indeed and in deed. Their playing is complementary perfection.
Flirting with Disaster is no surprise in the most positive sense. It's Lorraine Feather at her best. I think that even Mr. Wallenda would even relish the fact that his surname might eventually become a noun as a result of this grand flirtation.
Flirting with Disaster; Feels like Snow; I'd Be Down with That; Off-Center; Be My Muse;Later; The Last Wave; Disastrous Consequences; Big-Time; Wait for It; The Staircase.
Russell Ferrante: piano (1,2,3,4,6,7,8), arranger (2,3,8); Shelly Berg: piano (5,11), arranger (5,11); Dave Grusin: piano (9,10), arranger (9,10); Michael Valerio: bass (1,3,4,5,6,9,10); Grant Geissman: (1,9,10); Eddie Arkin: guitar (4,6), arranger (1,4,6,7); Michael Shapiro: drums/percussion (1,2,6,9,10); Gregg Field: drums (4,5); Carlos Del Rosario: percussion (10); Charles Bisharat: violin (1,4,5,8,11); Yutaka Yokokura: additional vocals (2).