Lorraine Feather (daughter of critic Leonard Feather) has made her mark as a lyricist and singer, with her former group, Full Swing, and also in non-jazz settings. New York City Drag is certainly a major change of pace, for she is featured singing a set of Fats Waller songs. Not heard are the usual Waller standards such as "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Ain't Misbehavin'" because this set is something much different. Feather wrote lyrics to a dozen of Waller's piano pieces, including "Blue Black Bottom," "Numb Fumblin'," "Valentine Stomp," "African Ripples," and other tunes that had never been sung before. She created stories to each of the songs, changing the titles and turning them into fascinating narratives. Fortunately, her appealing voice is strong enough to essay the tricky intervals, and one can always understand what she is singing. Particularly delightful are her words to "The Minor Drag" ("You're Outta Here"), "Gladyse" ("She's Gettin' Some"), "Clothes Line Ballet" ("New York City Drag"), and "Fractious Fingering" ("Jukebox"). Accompanied by either Dick Hyman or Mike Lang on piano, along with occasional quiet rhythm guitar from John Pisano, plus sometimes bass and drums, Lorraine Feather is heard on the most significant album of her career. And on "Cezanne," she is joined by Fats Waller himself via his recording of "Smashing Thirds." Waller would have thoroughly enjoyed this inspired and highly original set.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow