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Susannah McCorkle: Hearts And Minds

Jim Santella By

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Susannah McCorkle put together her 15th Concord album as a program for both lovers and thinkers. But aren’t those two paradigms mutually exclusive? Where’s the common ground?

The singer’s convincing performance makes it clear that good songwriters provide some of both. Dave Frishberg’s "My Attorney Bernie" appeals to our insightful side, while George & Ira Gershwin’s "Our Love Is Here to Stay" reaches in that other direction. Similarly, many songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein or Van Heusen & Burke can wind up in either court.

The album starts off with acoustic guitar and tenor saxophone filling in the intervals between heartbeats. An acoustic session such as this one tends to emphasize the most sincere forms of romance. A serenade with class. It’s very clear. "Not for a year. Forever and a day." A piano trio, an experienced saxophone crooner, a lyrical guitarist, an expressive singer who interprets these feelings with an honest spirit... These are the elements that songwriters have in mind when they create such classic tunes.

"The Computer Age in Motion" includes McCorkle’s lyric message, "We should be in bed, holding each other tight. Not cyber-surfing all night." It’s a fast-paced social commentary with spot-on one-liners about the way things are. McCorkle sings it to a Brazilian rhythm with quirky twists and turns. Just like the topic. McCorkle’s album includes thought-provoking songs performed up-tempo with lively, improvised guitar and saxophone interludes. Ivan Lins’ "Evolution" includes lyrics in English by Brock Patrick Walsh. While the song itself is quite romantic, the tale leaves room for sober study. Same for Frishberg’s "Do You Miss New York?" It’s a powerfully romantic song with quirky, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. The songs can be both emotionally and intellectually stimulating at the same time. Part of the responsibility lies with the listener. The lyrics posed by Frishberg and Fran Landesman, particularly, leave much for the thinking person. By selecting superb songs and interpreting them with class, Susannah McCorkle’s latest album ranks among this year’s vocal top ten.

Track Listing: I Can Dream, Can

Personnel: Susannah McCorkle- vocals; Allen Farnham- piano; Paul Meyers- guitar; Dick Oatts- tenor saxophone; Steve Gilmore, Dennis Irwin- bass; Tim Horner, Vanderlei Pereira- drums; Thiago DeMello- percussion.

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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