Loretta Cormier

Sing! Went the Strings of My Heart

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With a play list of 13 songs from the years 1920 to 1959, Loretta Cormier avoids the usual clich├ęs too often used in presenting standards from this era. Her subtle phrasing works since it retains your attention, separating this album from the routine. There are more surprises on this album. The violin of 77-year-old Sebastian Campesi is a joy. His fiddling on "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," "The Moon Was Yellow," "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," and, especially, on "The Nearness of You" brings new life to these standards. The interaction between the violin and Cormier's vocalizing is reminiscent of the engaging work of Stuff Smith and Ella Fitzgerald on The Duke Ellington Songbook-Small Group Sessions. Now and then, Cormier speaks, rather than sings, the last few words of the line of a song to emphasize the point the words are trying to convey. In addition, each track is slightly different. Sometimes Cormier leaps in with the lyrics from the outset. On others, it starts off with a solo or, as on a furiously upbeat "The Man I Love," begins with a rousing, swinging, duo by pianist Nelms and drummer Kyle Keener. One of the highlights of this CD is a pensive, emotion-filled "This Heart of Mine," which seems to be a favorite of cabaret singers. "Why Try to Change Me Now" becomes a musical conversation between Jay Fort's alto and Cormier's voice. The only criticism of this album is the performance of "I'll Remember April," where Cormier, for some reason, strays from the pitch and gets a bit out of tune. Other than this slight gaffe, this is a welcome addition to the cabaret discography.

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