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Professor and former Berklee College Voice Department Chair Jan Shapiro does make it into the studio occasionally. Her previous recordings include Read Between The Lines (Self Produced, 1997), Not Commercial (Self Produced, 1998) and Back to Basics (Self Produced, 2006). Shapiro's fourth recording, Piano Bar After Hours continues where she left off with Basics, presenting a stripped down version of jazz vocals performed in an intimate duo format with her favorite pianists (save for Al Jarreau's "Tell Me" which is something else altogether).
Piano Bar... is a collection of eleven far-flung songs that Shapiro sings with her experience-informed soprano voice. Where Shapiro vamps a show tune style with Frank Loesser's "A Slow Boat to China," slowly, perfectly supported by pianist Daniela Schachter, she makes Mark Winkler's lyrics sparkle on "I Keep On Loving You." She is as effective singing Rickie Lee Jones' "Company" as she is scatting Horace Silver's fun "Doodlin.'" But where Shapiro proves her temper singing almost casually on Loesser's "If I Were a Bell," where she turns the piece into an upbeat ballad with pianist John Harrison III bouncing right along. "Tell Me" is as experimental as its composer with Shapiro interpolating a Jarreau-McFerrin vibe with multi-voice tracking. Shapiro should get out of the classroom more.
Track Listing: On A Slow Boat To China; You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me; I Keep On Loving You; They Say It's Wonderful; Doodlin'; Lost Up In Loving You; Times Lie; If I Were A Bell; Who Cares; Tell Me; Company.
Personnel: Jan Shapiro: vocals; Daniela Schachter: piano (1, 3); Bob Winter: piano (2, 9); Tim Ray: piano (4, 11); Russell Hoffman: piano (5, 6); John Harrison III: piano (7, 8); Adriana Balic: keyboards (10); Bob Stoloff: vocal drums (10); Joey Blake: vocal bass (10).