CD Reviews - 2005
by John Kenrick
Barbara Brussell - Lerner in Love
Fellow fans of Alan Jay Lerner are in for some rich listening with this handsomely produced CD. Fresh, intimate arrangements and Brussell's warm, sensitive vocals let more than two dozen Lerner lyrics shine out in all their glory. Along with familiar standards are some delicious rarities, such as "You Haven't Changed at All," a personal favorite from The Day Before Spring. Brussell gives lyrics and music equal attention, making this one of the most enjoyable cabaret recordings in recent years.
Kudos to pianist Tedd Firth, producer/arranger Todd Schroeder and executive producer Frank Skillern for such a classy presentation -- and to Ms. Brussell for such a worthy tribute to a master Broadway lyricist and his gifted composing colleagues.
OTHER VIEWS: Broadway and Cabaret Scene
Sunday, July 30, 2006
by Joe Lang
Much of the music that has become a part of the repertoire of many jazz musicians comes from the world of theatre and movie musicals. Many of the songs that have come to be known as standards, and comprise a goodly portion of the Great American Songbook have a similar genesis. Integral to the initial success of most of them are the lyrics. Players like Lester Young were quoted as saying that they thought of the lyrics as they played these songs. My love for this music has led me to listen to a lot of non-jazz versions of this musical genre. Recently there has been a spate of non-jazz albums that have caught my ear, and should be of interest to those of you who feel as I do about this music.
Another major lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner, is the wordsmith given attention by Barbara Brussell on "Lerner in Love" (LML – 193). Tastefully backed by Tedd Firth on piano, Gene Bertoncini on guitar, Steve LaSpina on bass and Peter Grant on drums, with occasional support from Warren Vaché on trumpet and Robert Kyle on sax, Brussell is simply magnificent. She includes material encompassing the breadth of Lerner's long career, with "My Last Love" from his early effort with Frederick Loewe, "What's Up" (1943) to "It's Time for a Love Song" and "One More Walk Around the Garden" from his final show, "Carmelina" (1979) written with Burton Lane. Loewe ("Brigadoon," "My Fair Lady," "Gigi" and "Camelot") and Lane ("Royal Wedding" and "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever") were Lerner's primary collaborators. There are 26 songs on the 21 tracks that comprise this collection, and they include some of the most enchanting and lovely lyrics that you could find anywhere. Lerner, despite his checkered personal life, a morass of broken marriages, pills and writing blocks, was a hopeless romantic, and that is consistently captured in his words. (www.LMLmusic.com)