Gary LeMel

Lost in Your Arms

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The 11 songs placed side by side here, along with a tasteful reprise of the Carole Bayer Sager/Peter Allen chestnut "I'd Rather Leave When I'm in Love," make for a wonderful blend of sophisticated Le Mel easy jazz-vocal musings. The seamlessness of the album speaks as much about Gary Le Mel's musical instincts as it does for Billy Child's arrangement technique and piano playing. Childs is best remembered for his work with Eddie Daniels, Freddie Hubbard, and Dianne Reeves, in particular the album I Remember, often considered her finest recorded moment. A cinematic quality weaves all the way through this piece of quality work, never episodic despite the range of instruments accompanying the artist on different tracks. This is hardly surprising given Le Mel's acclaimed work combining movies and music. It is particularly refreshing on "It Amazes Me," "I'd Rather Leave While I'm in Love," "Once Upon a Summertime," and "My Ship." Whilst many of the songs will be familiar, they are never treated with cosy comfort or showy bravado, rather they are all approached with respect, deftness, and ingenuity. Opening with "It Amazes Me," complete with the eight-piece string section which also supports on "I'm All Smiles" and "I Remember," the songs pull at the heart strings without ever descending into cloying sentimentalism. Le Mel's sympathetic and warm vocal tones are inviting and straightforward, allowing the lyrics and music to be showcased, rather than being treated as background props. The canon of Kurt Weill is revisited, following the appearance of "Mack the Knife" on the 1999 Moonlighting album. "My Ship" demonstrates Le Mel's verve and panache with the European composers and is a fine companion piece to the gallic melody of "Once Upon a Summertime," co-written by Michel LeGrande. The trumpet playing of Chris Botti (Paul Simon, Sting) is particularly tasteful on these tracks, combined elegantly with the multi-talented Bob Sheppard (Steely Dan, Rickie Lee Jones) who joins on flute and saxophone on half of the album's 12 tracks. "Lost in Your Arms" creates the landscape of a fine European movie, less bombastic and crass than the output of Hollywood, emotional yet never melodramatic, and imbued with a spirit and reverence that suggests class and hints at timelessness.

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