Anne Pringle and Mark Burnell might invite dirty-minded jibes with the CD title Little Things We Do Together, but such is the nature of self-produced recordings, assembled with loving care by artists who probably have better things to do but have been spurred on by the illusion of a softcore marketplace. Pringle and Burnell are a cabaret duo -- her singing, him playing piano accompaniment -- so the little things they do together would have to be sexed up considerably in order to attract major-label attention. After all, MGM Records didn't even want Sammy Davis, Jr. to record standards, and that was in the '60s. Pringle produced this album in 2000, and she also designed the cover and is credited with taking pictures of everyone else involved but herself. This includes guest vocalist Buddy Charles and the eerie violinist Johnny Frigo, both legends on the Chicago jazz scene. That the duo would attract such collaborators in their home base is surely not about anyone throwing money around. Pringle and Burnell are superb musicians. While there is probably such a vocal and piano duo in every town, this one begs to be pushed ahead of the pack if only for crafty repertoire choices. George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, and Hoagy Carmichael are required fare. Pringle's performances more than satisfy the basic requirements, notably in her and the pianist's sense of atmosphere. Covers of songs by Tom Lehrer and Dave Frishberg are wise, wise choices, as the work of these humorist composers deserves to be placed side by side with the heavyweights of Tin Pan Alley and is underperformed to boot. On the other foot, there is the version of Jim Carrey's ditty entitled "Heaven Down Here." The promotional blurbs -- written by Pringle? -- pushed heavily at the presence of this particular number, evidence once again of the duo's clever programming. But as a songwriter, Carrey is better off acting in films, or even better taking two years off between films.
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne