September 2013

AttachmentsA Perfect Album from a Brilliant, Multi-Talented Artist

Jazzed Media JM1063
Format: CD

Musical Performance

Sound Quality

Overall Enjoyment

Lorraine Feather was born into music. Her father was Leonard Feather, a jazz pianist, composer, and producer who is best remembered for his journalism -- writing reviews and album notes pertaining to jazz. Her mother was a singer in the big-band era and an ex-roommate of Peggy Lee. And her godmother was none other than Billie Holiday. Being blessed with genes and attention from the best offers no guarantee that one will come out ahead, but in Lorraine Feather's case everything took, and she has become one of the most brilliant and multi-talented artists performing today.

Feather writes wonderful lyrics, and her first albums were often devoted to lyrics that she'd set to instrumental classics by such artists as Fats Waller and Duke Ellington. Lately she's been collaborating with more contemporary composers, and Attachments is the pinnacle of this period. The album is absolutely impossible to fault. Not only are Feather's lyrics vibrant and true, but her singing is that of a master interpreter completely in control of her instrument. She has perfect diction. Though all of the lyrics are printed in the booklet that accompanies the CD, you won't need it to understand every word. Moreover, her voice is lovely and appealing. As both a writer and performer, she has it all.

The music collaborators on Attachments are well known to jazz followers, and Dave Grusin, Russell Ferrante, Eddie Arkin, and Shelly Berg all play on various cuts. Attachments is the title of both the album and its second song, and it indicates that Feather's lyrics are about "the connections we have or form as we go along in life -- to our families, friends, lovers, to animals, to places."

The styles range from wistful ballad ("I Hope I Never Leave This Place") to saucy romp ("I Love You Guys," a remembrance of jazz musicians that even tosses a line or two to her husband, drummer Tony Morales). The instrumentation varies as well. Most of the songs include piano, and there are some beautiful contributions from violinist Charlie Bisharat, as well as a very significant one from bass clarinetist Bob Mintzer.

Feather's lyrics can be sharp as a tack, and they can say something in a way we've never heard before, but that seems absolutely right:

You called it love.
What moved you more
Was the quiet scratch
At your entry door,
Was the longtime friend
You thought you’d keep,
Who suddenly cut you

The recorded sound is lush, with lots of presence and just the right amount of reverb. Balances are spot-on and vocal overdubs are skillfully done. Overall, the sound seems ideal for the arrangements. Given the performances and the sound, Attachments should be a given for a Grammy nomination.

Be sure to listen to: The final cut, "True," finds Feather putting lyrics to Dave Grusin's arrangement from Bach's third orchestral suite. The accompaniment is just Grusin on the piano and Bisharat on violin, and the results are ethereal and tremendously moving. I'll be playing it a lot.

. . . Rad Bennett