Carol Liebowitz

Time on My Hands

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Vocalist Carol Liebowitz has joined with acoustic guitar player Andy Fite for an album of eight classic standards from the Great American Songbook. The catch is that they're delivered in a folk-song style reminiscent of Joan Baez and other denizens of the '60s coffeehouse scene. Liebowitz has that high-pitched, vibrato-less, fatalistic-sounding voice characteristic of many performers from the "hippie" period. Moreover, Liebowitz and Fite take such deep liberties with the melody lines that the tunes are virtually unrecognizable. Improvisation is the heart of jazz, but at some point there has to be an indication that the performers are familiar with the basic melody structure of the tune they're interpreting. The material here is delivered almost devoid of feeling and passion, with every song sounding virtually the same. The only time there's a sign of musical liveliness is with "I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me," where Fite gets in a few jazz licks on the guitar. Fite also has one of the few moments of emotion on "You Don't Know What Love Is." The tracks here average more than seven minutes apiece. That's a lot of time for two musicians who have relatively little to say to fill, with the result that about halfway through each track, things start to get boring. Liebowitz and Fite would've been better served by paying attention to the musical attributes that made these songs standards in the first place.

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