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Gloria Reuben: Perchance To Dream

Mike Perciaccante By

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Based on her performance (back in the day) on NBC's ER, when she sang Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)," it was obvious that Gloria Reuben had the chops. Reuben's character Jeanie Boulet, sang a stunning version of the song, which, don't let the title fool you, is actually a plaintive ballad, as a farewell to a young boy who had died in her care.

On her new light jazz CD Perchance To Dream (MCG Jazz, 2015), Reuben tackles a number of standards (eight to be exact) with what can be described as a fresh approach. She tackles every track on the CD in a unique manner. Thought the majority of the selections are standards, the arrangement aren't "standard." Though she doesn't go for flashy, she doesn't perform the songs in that staid manner that can make standards seem stuffy and boring.

The songs seem to have been chosen for the album because they all, in some way, focus back to the album's title. The themes are, for the most part, about love and "dreams"—big ones, little ones, attainable ones and the brass ring. Some highlights are: "How Am I To Know" with its bossa nova-like arrangement, "Here's To Life," the album opener Irving Berlin's classic "Change Partners" to which Reuben brings an almost modern feel, the jazzy blues-rockin' "Sharing The Night With The Blues" and "Close Enough For Love" (with its Latin-influenced arrangement). Another highlight is "Pure Imagination" (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). For kids, the song is about hope and wonderment and because of the movie it came from—candy. For adults, it is also about wonderment—the wonderment of getting lost inside someone. Reuben's rendition makes the listener feel that the song is about the wonder of love.

In addition to the eight standards, Reuben's CD features two new tunes. The plaintive "Poor Girl" features lyrics from the Dr. Maya Angelou poem of the same name (about an abandoned woman) with music by Jay Ashby (who also produced the disc). K. Lawrence Dunham and Carol Robins penned the ballad "When I Close My Eyes" specifically for Reuben.

Reuben's voice and phrasing is smooth, strong and sexy. Though the actress/singer is more well-known as an actress, she could have just as easily broken through as a singer. This CD will definitely cause music fans to reconsider their thinking regarding Gloria Reuben. They will now be forced to consider her as more than just a famous actress who sometimes sings. Perchance To Dream is an album by Gloria Reuben, the singer.

Track Listing: Change Partners; Poor Girl; Close Enough For Love; Pure Imagination; When I Close My Eyes; How Am I To Know; Save Your Love For Me; You Better Love Me; Sharing The Night With The Blues; Here's To Life.

Personnel: Gloria Reuben: vocals; Jay Ashby: trombone, percussion; Marty Ashby: guitar; Alton Merrill: piano, keyboards; Tony DePaolis: acoustic and electric bass; Thomas Wendt: drums; George Jones: congas.

Title: Perchance To Dream | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: MCG Jazz

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