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Rebecca Kilgore: Why Fight the Feeling: Songs by Frank Loesser

Track List

>Thank Your Lucky Stars
>Let's Get Lost
>Can't Get out of This Mood
>Lady's in Love with You, The
>Say It
>Then I Wrote a Minuet in G
>Somebody, Somewhere
>Moon of Manakoora, The
>On a Slow Boat to China
>I Wish I Didn't Love You So
>Says My Heart
>What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
>Sand in My Shoes
>What a Rhumba Does to Romance
>Why Fight the Feeling?
>I Believe in You
>Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

"Pianist Dave Frishberg describes Frank Loesser as his hero, succinctly describing the importance of Loesser to songwriters everywhere. Loesser could have no better champions than vocalistRebecca Kilgore and Frishberg. They make the art of interpreting song seem natural and easy, despite the fact it's truly a craft to get to the heart of a great song so elegantly and simply. These two are relaxed and deeply in tune with what makes a great song and a great performance. Here they take on tunes both famous and obscure from the Loesser oeuvre - 17 in all - still just a small fraction of the composer's prolific output.

Frishberg once called "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" a perfect song and so it's an appropriate vehicle to hear how two masters can 'improve' upon perfection. Kilgore makes it resonate emotionally for both its specific season and for the rest of the year too. We hear the rarely sung verse and the two achieve a breathtaking intimacy.

These songs have a little of everything - humor, pathos, intelligence - and often all in the same piece. Try "Let's Get Lost," which Chet Baker took in a wisp of blue. Frishberg and Kilgore find the blue too but there's more than a hint of Latin in Frishberg's brilliant accompaniment as Kilgore anticipates getting away.

The album closes with two true show-stoppers. Kilgore finds the architecture in "I Believe in You" (from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) and reveals just how terrific an actress she can be. And Frishberg complements her artistry by following her emotional lead. "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" comes from Guys and Dolls and what pianist and singer accomplish is combining personal expression with the feel of an entire Broadway cast rocking the house. This kind of magic can be found throughout this collection." -AllAboutJazz

Album Reviews:

JazzTimes (p.98) - "This whip-smart salute to Frank Loesser marks Kilgore and Frishberg's fourth collaboration....Kilgore is ideally suited to the cunning blend of Cole Porter sophistication and warm Irving Berlin familiarity that defines the Loesser songbook."

Album Notes

Personnel: Rebecca Kilgore (vocals); Dave Frishberg (piano).

Audio Mixer: Kevin Nettleingham.

Liner Note Author: Doug Ramsey.

Recording information: Heavywood Studios, Lake Oswego, OR (07/24/2007/07/25/2007).

Rebecca Kilgore and Dave Frishberg have previously collaborated on a number of earlier CDs, though this time around they focus on the works of lyricist Frank Loesser, who also wrote the music for several of the songs heard in this collection. Loesser, often considered to be one of the last great songwriters from the era of American popular song, who frequently wrote for musicals on Broadway and in film, specialized in easy to understand lyrics that left a lasting impression, though Kilgore and Frishberg also include several of his relatively obscure pieces. Kilgore's crystal-clear vocals always swing, while she is quite comfortable taking the lead as Frishberg provides inventive accompaniment. She has previously recorded "The Lady's in Love with You" (with her group BED), though this arrangement has a more upbeat setting with Frishberg playing lively, often humorous stride piano. It's hard to believe that censorship prevented "On a Slow Boat to China" from being included in the 1949 movie Neptune's Daughter, since it has long been become a standard. The duo delivers a potent interpretation that seems to get to its destination all too soon, though it is only because this gem was written without a verse. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" has long been a holiday favorite, but Kilgore's is one of the best recordings, not only because she restores the often omitted introduction but also because she sings its lyrics with such feeling. The obscure gems are just as much fun. It's easy to see the two musicians with beaming smiles as they negotiate the lively "What a Rhumba Does to Romance." They also capture the playfulness of "Then I Wrote the Minuet in G," a campy piece Loesser used to make fun of fellow songwriters who appropriated classical music for their pop songs. Veteran journalist Doug Ramsey's insightful liner notes combine the right mix of background about each song and insight into the duo's interpretation of it. ~ Ken Dryden


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