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The first thing that distinguishes Lisa Kirchner's Something to Sing About is her repertoire: not a jazz standard pass her vocal cords; instead, she presents a collection of 20th Century American "Art Songs" composed my the likes of Charles Ives, John Corigliano, Ned Rorem, Aaron Copland, and William Bolcom. An eclectic band supports Kirchner, conspicuously present is accordionist William Schimmel, who also provides the sly "Suicide in C Minor."
"Suicide in C Minor" is a cabaret song gone dark, like Kurt Weill meeting Tennessee Williams, having too many highballs and scoring a Wiemar Berlin Operetta. The arrangement recalls pianist Uri Caine's fantasies, where he mashes up genre and instrumentation in interesting and provocative ways. Kirchner sings this lyrical train wreck straight, her voice mature and cultured, and well-rounded for such show tunes. Sherman Irby also plays a brightly abstract alto saxophone on the piece, adding to its otherworldliness.
Personnel: Lisa Kirchner: vocals; William Schimmel: accordion; Xavier Davis: piano;
Vicente Archer: bass; Ron Jackson: guitar; Willie Jones,III: drums;
Sherman Irby: alto saxophone.
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.