Holly Cole has always been a difficult vocalist to categorize because of her eclectic taste in music. But this self-titled CD, first issued by Alert in 2007 and reissued in early 2008 by Koch, finds her accompanied by various configurations of small bands, mostly with brass and reeds supplied by a number of top New York session players, with a host of arrangers involved, including Cole herself, pianist Gil Goldstein, saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, and other musicians who took part in the sessions. "The House Is Haunted by the Echo of Your Last Goodbye" is an overlooked gem in which Cole adds the slightest touch of humor to lessen its melancholy air. The brisk setting of Henry Mancini's normally easygoing "Charade" suggests the hustle and bustle of a love affair in an urban setting, while the breezy dash through "It's Alright with Me" is just as much fun. Her slinky treatment of the old novelty piece "Alley Cat Song" (usually heard as a honky tonk piano instrumental) could revive interest in its possibilities. Only one piece falls short, her droning take of Jobim's "Waters of March," featuring members of her old band (pianist Aaron Davis, bassist David Piltch, and guitarist Kevin Breit, the latter adding loops as well), where she fails to vary her approach enough to capture the subtlety within this demanding song. But this CD is easily one of her best overall record dates.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden