Lea DeLaria

Lea DeLaria: Play It Cool

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Lea DeLaria: Play It Cool Review

by Paula Edelstein

On Play It Cool, her debut CD for Warner Bros. Records, vocalist Lea DeLaria reinterprets 11 compositions from contemporary musical theater, including "Cool" from West Side Story, "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" from Sweeney Todd, and "All That Jazz" from Chicago. Her vocal instrument is both complementary and unique in its interpretations of the lyrics, and covers a broad range of musical theater, both comedy and drama. This is not an easy task. DeLaria utilizes several vocal techniques to bring each song to life, including scatting, elongated phrasing, swing, and balladeering. She also makes excellent use of the basic skills of music theory: harmony, rhythm, and melody. Among the more memorable highlights on the CD is her great phrasing and delivery on "Lowdown-Down" from The Wild Party. Her vocals provide an excellent foil for the saxophone voices of Seamus Blake, Roger Rosenberg, Vincent Herring, and Scott Robinson, who play tenor, baritone, alto, and bass, respectively. Her up-tempo swinging rendition of "Once in a Lifetime" is a refreshing change from the overly used ballad approach of the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley hit from Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. She's doing great things on this CD, and it is one any collector of Broadway show tunes would appreciate having in his or her collection.

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