PIanist Alberto Pibiri and vocalist Miriam Waks' recording So Many Stars is a lesson in intimacy. They are an international couple, with Pibiri coming from Italy and Waks from the other side of the world, Australia. The two, married, make New York City their home. They obviously enjoy one another and performing together. They bring an intimacy to their performance. They are as fun as Broadway composers and lyricists singing their own show tunes, as smart as their polyglot song choice, and as varied as their repertoire presented here.
Waks has an important association with vocalists Rebecca Parris and Louise Van Aarsen, having studied with both. But rather than reflect these two singers, Waks assimilates the best of both into her own bubbly and vibrant personality (bubbly like the champagne in "You Go to My Head"). Waks possesses a durably clear and pristine voice, well-balanced horizontally and vertically. She is fearless in the material she covers, seasoning all with her effervescence. Pibiri has a delicate and responsive piano style that produces music as ubiquitous as air, perfectly suited for the compositions played. He favors single-note figures to block chords, a contrapuntal approach that gives his playing an airy quality, accenting his wife's equally airy delivery.
So Many Stars might be best divided between English and foreign language pieces. All would be considered standards, but not of the overwrought "My Funny Valentine" variety. The duo kicks things off with the 1952 Alan Brandt/Bob Haymes tune "That's All," many times covered. Pibiri and Waks perform the piece as if among a small group of close friends. A staccato piano figure propels the song with Waks running alongside, chasing the lyrics, and catching them. "Estate" allows Waks to show off her Italian chops, singing a duet with Enrico Granafei (who also plays harmonica). Granafei also provides the same services on Gino Paoli's 1961 "Senza Fine." Italian is not all Waks has up her linguistic sleeve. Her French is fine on Edith Piaf's "Hymne a L'amour" and her Spanish pungent on a swinging "Caravan."
Pibiri and Waks magic is no more apparent than on the quasi show tunes. The pair turn out a coquettish "My Baby Just Cares for Me," while Waks belts out a boisterous "Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues." "Cabaret" and "Bye Bye Blackbird" are delicious throwback treats and the bonus tracks "All The Way" and "Don't Go To Strangers" cap a warm and loving duet set worthy of many listenings. Broad and far-reaching, So Many Stars is a superbly integrated collection of disparate songs held together by the intimacy of a talented pair.
That’s All; Estate; My Baby Just Cares for Me; Senza Fine; Quando, Quando,
Quando; So Many Stars; Ain’t Got Nothing But the Blues; Hymne a L’Amour;
Cabaret; Bye Bye Blackbird; Caravan; All The Way; Don’t Go to Strangers.
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