In a post-death career that’s starting to rival Maria Callas, a new set of DVDs is being released of restored Nancy LaMott performances with initial screenings at $100. Erv Raible is one of the forces behind this venture.
I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. A songbook has just been released with arrangements of songs that were originally created by Chris Marlowe for Nancy LaMott. These include both the David Friedman classics written for her such as Just in Time for Christmas as well as signature standards such as When October Goes and Downtown. The arrangements purport to be in LaMott’s keys.
I am a huge fan of the late LaMott’s work and Chris Marlowe’s genius arrangements for her. And I can see why people would want to have them
However, I can’t help but feel that this project seems to have a major flaw. It would seem that the primary audience for the songbook are singers with a LaMott vibe that sing in the keys that LaMott used to sing in. However, if you are that Nancy LaMott-ish anyway, why would you want to obviously copy her even more, rather than establishing your own musical identity?
I know, I know. The point of the New Year is to look forward, not back. However, here are what I would consider the top cabaret CDs of 2008. In the next post, I’ll deal with some titles that are not quite so squarely in the genre.
As the always-insightful Emily Everson opines, there’s Barbara Cook, and then there’s everyone else. Although this is far from being her best CD, she continues to be the towering presence in contemporary cabaret work. And the good news is that Lee Musiker is getting some style and inventiveness back into her arrangements. Who ever knew that “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” could be a portrait of a stalker?
Any available new Nancy LaMott tracks have to be a “must have.” The material assembled here shows a wide range of LaMott performances. Time to feel thrilled all over again.
This CD reconstructed LuPone’s Les Mouches act from the late 70’s from a box of cassettes of various performances. The CD has an amazingly “live” feel and shows an exciting personality at a critical point in her career.
Probably the CD I’ve listened to the most this year, this recording is what every cabaret artist should aspire to. It has amazing vocals ranging from warm, to sassy, to embracing, to heartbreaking. The arrangements show Chris Denny’s combination of flawless taste and understanding of Mason’s gifts. The material includes fresh takes on familiar material as well as a new Paul Rolnick number.
I really agonized over including this, because I don’t want it to seem too much like “one for the home team.” But I have to add it because I think it’s a terrific CD. The song selection has variety and the CD contains songs people really love! I especially think the medley of Blackberry Winter and Autumn is inspired. Rick Jensen contributed stunning arrangements and beautiful piano work. And, of course, Ron’s vocals are great!
So did I miss your favorite cabaret CD of the year????
Great news from Lee Lessack and David Friedman about the recent Nancy LaMott CD release!
We are extremely excited to announce that “Ask Me Again” from LML Music artist Nancy LaMott has broken through to the Billboard Top 100 Jazz Charts! Entering the Chart last week at #12 and holding strong at #15 this week, the incredible support of her fans and friends across the country have placed her in the Top 20 for two weeks running alongside jazz legends Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, and Diane Schurr. This event is made even more remarkable by the fact that it comes more than 12 years after her death, and is a tremendous milestone in our effort to fulfill the promise to see to it that the whole world hears Nancy sing.
Below is a message from Nancy’s Producer David Friedman with some exciting information about what’s coming in the future, and what we can do together now to keep the momentum behind “Ask Me Again” going and growing.
Thank you again for your support. You are, as always, the reason this is possible.
from David Friedman:
Dear Nancy LaMott Fans,
We are thrilled to see Nancy on the charts with “Ask Me Again.” It is a fantastic moment amidst years of hard work by countless people, and is a testament to how powerful and wonderful the support of her fans and friends has been.
Since the most effective promotion of Nancy’s music has always been a grassroots effort, we would greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word. If you would share this great news with all your friends and send this notice, or one of your own, to your entire email list with the request that your friends to do the same and keep the chain going, it would be a huge step forward in breaking Nancy through to millions of new fans in the same way Eva Cassidy broke through in 2001. Also included below is the Press Release about Nancy’s arrival on the Billboard Jazz Top 100. Feel free to share this Release with any media contacts you know.
We’re doing everything we can on this end; developing a movie, working on getting Nancy’s CD & DVD on QVC, preparing the next set of DVD’s for release, and contacting all the major publications we know. But it’s your one-on-one efforts that have put us in a position to do this, and as always, we’re grateful for your continued help and support. If you have any ideas as to how we might further promote Nancy, please write to Nancy’s Producer David Friedman at MIDDER firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support. As always, let’s do this together!
Although not in league with Eva Cassidy’s, Nancy LaMott’s posthumous career chugs along with both a double CD release and a DVD providing videos of collected LaMott performances.
The CD, Ask Me Again, delivers various tracks that were recorded as presents for friends or for radio performances. They showcase LaMott performing songs that have not appeared on previous CD releases:
1. You And I (Live On Wqew) 3:03
2. Ask Me Again 3:18
3. The Shadow of Your Smile 3:10
4. Cheek To Cheek (Live On Wqew) 2:49
5. Sophisticated Lady (Live On Wqew) 4:12
6. On My Way To You (Live On Wqew) 3:37
7. Easy To Love 3:18
8. Killing Time (Live On Wqew) 3:25
9. Call Me Irresponsible (Live at World Trade Center Plaza) 4:28
10. Right as the Rain 2:24
1. Moondance 5:53
2. You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me (Live On Wqew) 2:59
3. September In The Rain (Live On Wqew) 3:09
4. I Only Have Eyes For You (Live On Wqew) 5:37
5. The Wind Beneath My Wings 4:29
6. You’ll Never Know (Live On Wqew) 3:56
7. The Music That Makes Me Dance (Live On Wqew) 5:00
8. No One Is Alone – Not While I’m Around 5:49
9. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Live at the Museum of Broadcasting) 4:54
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 2:43
The video, I’ll Be Here With You, has clips of LaMott from San Francisco in the 80’s to some of her last performances in New York. In it, one really sees the development of an artist, especially when one can compare her versions of Darktown Strutters Ball / Alexander’s Ragtime Band caught more than a decade apart with two different music directors.
Of course both releases are vital for any complete cabaret collection. The performances are amazing, and even material that can be as hackneyed as The Wing Beneath My Wings comes across fresh, heartfelt and riveting. And it’s great to see Rick Jensen and Chris Marlowe on video!
That said, I have to admit that I have a harder time watching LaMott than I do watching any number of other dead artists like Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman… I found it especially heart-wrenching to watch LaMott performing while wearing obvious wigs. On the other hand, I’m supremely grateful that this material exits and grateful for the chance to experience fresh performances from an artists who left the stage far too soon.
Friday’s Playbill Online had an interesting note on the new forthcoming Nancy LaMott collection*.
Also, an interesting survey of singers, asking what song written for the opposite gender peformers most want to perform. Evidently every woman in musical theater wants to sing Soliloquy.
* I always picture Nancy LaMott envying the posthumous career of Eva Cassidy, much the way Sal Mineo and Jean Seberg must envy the careers of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
Nancy LaMott’s Just in Time for Christmas remains a great listen. It combines a variety of romantic, spiritual, and comic approaches to the holiday season. I still thrill at her performance of Chris Marlowe’s arrangement of I Saw Three Ships with Bring a Torch, Janette Isabella. And of course there’s the trademark David Friedman Just in Time for Christmas. And one is reminded that she was David Zippel’s demo singer with a special holiday lyric for Stay with Me from City of Angels.
1. Some Children See Him
2. I Saw Three Ships /Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella
3. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
4. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
5. (Christmas) Stay With Me
6. Earth & Sky
7. All Those Christmas Cliches
8. What Child Is This?/I Wonder As I Wander
9. A Child Is Born
10. Just In Time For Christmas
11. Baby It’s Cold Outside
12. A Song For Christmas
13. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)