A relocated New Yorker and an active participant in the busy women in jazz scene in Austin, TX, this album is vocalist Mady Kaye's tribute to the Mecca of American popular song, Tin Pan Alley. This "alley" was West 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan where dwelled the major sheet music publishers in the country and where many of the major contributors to the Great American Songbook cut their composing and often, like George Gershwin, their pianistic teeth peddling songs. It was this piece of New York real estate that helped to revolutionize popular music in the U.S., making it uniquely American. Kaye exudes the excitement of the development of this "new" (32 bar usually in AABA format) music in a cabaret show she presented in Austin, TX, in August of 1999, which this CD captures. Like a good cabaret trooper, she not only sings the music but embellishes it with the background of the songs. Interesting and sometimes funny stories about the time Tin Pan Alley was dominant, and the people who performed its musical products. If there is a downside to this otherwise entertaining album, it's that Kaye adopts a number of vocal embellishments to enhance the songs which come over well in the live performance, but which lose some punch coming from a CD. Kaye certainly has the vocal equipment to handle the various types of songs presented in this more-than-an-hour show. The enthusiastic and supportive piano of Jeff Hellmer helps to dot the eye on the various techniques Kaye uses to present this music. A good album of American favorites that is recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan