Various Artists

Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project

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Ten years after Dave Koz gathered many of his musical friends to craft the lush and lilting all-star project Golden Slumbers, Matt Pierson -- one of contemporary jazz's most prominent producers over the last few decades -- takes on the extraordinary task of helming a project whose expansive creative scope is only surpassed by its heart for the two charities it is raising funds for: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Young Survival Coalition. The album's simple subtitle will surely keep the listener's focus on the beautiful, soaring voices of today's top stage performers -- from culturally famous names like Vanessa Williams, Kelli O'Hara, and Audra McDonald to others more specifically known to that community and its fans. But the ambitious two-CD, 26-track set is equally a showcase for the gentle, parental side of an exciting crop of composers and lyricists (again, some legends like Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz, others lesser known) and -- true to Pierson's legacy as a Grammy-winning jazz maestro -- top jazz artists playing an intimate supporting role. So while the elegant and wistful first single "A Lullaby for Midnight" could be appreciated by anyone open to the dreamy, crystalline caress of Williams' voice, others will note that it was written by former pop star/musical composer Rupert Holmes and jazz fans will appreciate the subtleties of artists like pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Julian Lage. Likewise with the soulful and sweet "Lucky." It's sung beautifully by Donna Murphy, penned by Schwartz (for his opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon), and features the magical hypnosis of Gil Goldstein's piano and Jody Redhage's cello. While some of the tracks are adaptations of previously penned material, others were written and recorded specifically for the project. Adults will be able to appreciate its multifaceted musical mastery even as they use it for its primary purpose of lulling their children to sleep. The musical project is one element of a multimedia presentation that includes a hardcover book (sold separately) featuring lyrics illustrated (naturally) by some of America's most renowned theatrical designers and children's book illustrators. This is a project that not only defines its time but should endure as a landmark of charitable musical endeavors for generations.

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