Experience is the best teacher, and Dawn Upshaw's third foray in to the world of American popular song proves it. Although I WISH IT SO (songs of Sondheim, Bernstein, Blitzstein, and Weill) and DAWN UPSHAW SINGS RODGERS & HART demonstrate an excellent grasp of the style of singing required for non-"classical" theatre songs, this disc of Vernon Duke surpasses its predecessors.
Duke wrote songs for a number of stage shows and revues from the 1930s through the 1950s, and had the benefit of collaborating with some of the best lyricists of the time, including E. Y. Harburg and Ira Gershwin. The results were songs which are jewels of the repertoire, classics like "Autumn in New York" and "I Like the Likes of You." Upshaw presents Duke's work here in a comfortable style and with obvious love for the material. This is no mere nod to popular music from an operatic diva; Upshaw's devotion to 20th century music of the United States goes beyond classical and concert works. She has developed a cabaret-type sound appropriate to the songs, and works well with her collaborators, among them Fred Hersch and John Pizzarelli.