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Inspired by a large, receptive crowd, Boston cabaret singer Carol O'Shaughnessy enthusiastically tackles a program of thirteen tunes selected to bring out the cabaret performers stock in trade which is to sing a story. Unlike jazz singers for whom lyrics are the medium rather than the message, for a cabaret singer they are the message. O'Shaughnessy has been dubbed Boston's "First Lady of Cabaret" and has been awarded that city's "Cabaret Entertainer of the Year Award". At this performance she is backed by a 17-piece orchestra headed by Tom LaMark replete with strings.
O'Shaughnessy leans toward that school of singers who look to the likes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Bette Midler as their standard bearer. Like them, she has a pleasing sound and strong voice which allows her to belt out the tunes. Unfortunately, O'Shaughnessy lets the pitch and intonation get away from her from time to time. This happens when she tries to be overpowering, putting a strain on her voice as on "Everything's Coming up Roses" which she and the band had to start over a few times before they got it right. "I've Got You under My Skin", backed by the orchestra's strings, is done in a slower tempo than usual and is done very nicely. Similarly, "My Foolish Heart" gets a tender, romantic reading again with the strings in tow. The best up tempo track is a bouncy medley of "Broadway"/"Lullaby of Broadway".The CD's topper is a marvelous medley of tunes from Cabaret, including reciting some of the script from the movie. This track is worth the price of admission by itself.
The proceedings are enlivened with occasional patter between O'Shaughnessy and the audience. She also engages in a short comedy routine at the outset which isn't bad. Everyone had a lot of fun. Despite the occasional technical vocal gaffes, this album has a lot to offer and is recommended.
Track Listing: Overture; Medley: Wanna Sing a Show Tune/They're Playing My Song; The Best Is Yet to Come; Medley: The Trolley Song/Johnny One Note; My Foolish Heart; I've Got You under My Skin; Why Did I Choose You; Medley: Broadway/Lullaby of Broadway; Medley: Nowadays/All That Jazz; Medley: It Couldn't Please Me More/Married/Cabaret; Medley: Small World/Everything's Coming up Roses; The Journey; Gotta Lot of Livin' to Do
Personnel: Carol O'Shaughessy - Vocals; Mark Carlsen - Bass; Jim Gwin - Percussion; Tom LeMark - Piano/Leader; Dave Burdett, Dick Lowell - Trumpet; Terry Anthony - Alto Saxophone/Clarinet/Piccolo/Flute; Kenny Wenzell - Trombone; Tom Ferrante - Tenor Saxophone/Clarinet; Bob Bowlby - Baritone Saxophone/Bass Clarinet; Jane Hemenway, Steve Heimlich, Gerry Mordis, Michael Loo, Scott Knopf, Frank Grimes - Violin; Johann Soults, Cam Sawzin - Cello
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.