Rebecca Spencer

Fair Warning

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The second album by New York-based cabaret singer Rebecca Spencer hews close to the traditions of the style: grand piano runs and a graceful cello are the main accompaniment as Spencer genteelly riffles through the Great American Songbook for chestnuts like "Deep Purple" and "Stardust" (presented as a medley), along with Broadway faves like Marvin Hamlisch's "The Girl Who Used to Be Me" and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "You Must Love Me." Not a hair is out of place, either in Philip Fortenberry's staid piano or Spencer's too-practiced, emotion-free vocals. It's all exceedingly polite, with no sense of jazz's easy swing even on an acknowledged classic of the form like George Gershwin's "Summertime," which Spencer simply massacres by virtue of ostentatious semi-operatic oversinging. That's by far the worst of the lot, but there's little to recommend Fair Warning, except perhaps as a sleep aid.

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