Rebecca Luker

Anything Goes: Rebecca Luker Sings Cole Porter

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Actress/singer Rebecca Luker, whose Broadway credits include The Secret Garden and the 1994 revival of Show Boat, in which she played the female lead, Magnolia, makes her debut solo album with a collection of Cole Porter songs. In her acknowledgments, she thanks her musical director, Patrick Brady, also credited for arrangements and five of the orchestrations (the rest are by Larry Moore), saying his "name should grace the front of this CD." It may be that both Brady and Moore deserve that credit, since their musical treatments of the vintage songs are so stirring. They start with Moore's setting for "Anything Goes," which begins with a simple piano before involving a swing band in a sort of supercharged recollection of 1920s jazz. On the tracks that follow, the music is vibrant and inventive, redefining the familiar Porter melodies. Luker, a sweet-voiced soprano, holds her own over the maelstrom, after signaling the feisty approach to the material in a cover photograph that finds her, decked out in black dress and elbow-length gloves, wielding a cigar and appearing to be in the middle of a triumphant laugh. It's the right image for the approach she and her orchestrators have taken to reinvigorating one of Broadway's great songwriters.

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