On a Clear Day

Peter Davenport

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On a Clear Day Review

by Dave Nathan

New York cabaret singer Peter Davenport's initial album features a mixed program of standards, pop material, and Davenport originals. Singing with a gentle, almost sweet, demeanor, Davenport delivers each of the tunes with the cabaret singer's stock in trade: sincere and often dramatic storytelling. This album demonstrates the wide-ranging versatility of Davenport's vocal skills and experience as he successfully takes on a list of tunes running from classic ballads to high-energy sambas. He even adds a bit of wordless vocalizing on "Come Rain or Come Shine," rather unusual for cabaret. Storytelling takes on modern dress with such tunes as "Stop, Look and Listen," which uses electronic wizardry to give the singer a rappish sound. The usual cast of musicians, who apparently spend a good deal of their time backing cabaret singers, shows up here. Davenport uses them well in setting the scenes for each of the tunes where they participate. There's Lawrence Feldman's soft tenor on "On a Clear Day" and Kenny Sebesky's guitar on an up-tempo, Latin beat "I've Got Just About Everything," complete with raspy percussion and whistles. Peter Sanders' cello appears on several tracks, but is especially mellow on "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars." The album's big production number -- there's always at least one on these albums -- is "When the Sun Comes Out," where Feldman, Sanders, Sebesky, and the strongly played piano of the New York cabaret singer's musical chaperone of choice, Christopher Marlowe, create a crescendo of sound behind the vocalist. This is another pleasing album for the Big Apple's seemingly inexhaustible list of cabaret singers, and is recommended for those who especially relish that special breed of troubadour.

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