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Lorraine Feather: Tales of the Unusual (2012)

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Lorraine Feather: Tales of the Unusual How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Vocalist Lorraine Feather is first and foremost, a lyricist. The daughter of jazz writer, composer, and producer, Leonard Feather, she has released a mess of recordings, all of which feature finely crafted songs composed from the same brew that gave rise to Tippo, Mississippi's Mose Allison
Mose Allison
Mose Allison
b.1927
composer/conductor
and St. Paul, Minnesota's Dave Frishberg
Dave Frishberg
Dave Frishberg
b.1933
piano
.

On Tales of the Unusual, the smart lyric writing, contemporary and current, passes for neither modern Country and Western nor old-time Tin Pan Alley, as "Off-The- Grid Girl" illustrates early in the rotation. Co-written with Eddie Arkin, the song features Grant Geissman
Grant Geissman
Grant Geissman
b.1953
guitar
's sinewy electric guitar, leading to a full-bore cabaret number with the craziest lyrics you could hope for:

We've got these rats as big as cats, Slugs as long as your arm, A nasty nest of rattlesnakes Down by the onion farm. We brought them in to eat the rats, Which, as I stated, are big as cats. All they did was multiply and grow. It's a very scary place to be, Unless you're an off-the-grid girl like me.


Along with these tasty and expeditious lyrics, Geissman injects some muscular slide guitar that melds well with Charles Bisharat's gothic violin, transforming this turn-of-the-century stage number into gold.

"Five" is smart jazz-hip hop, percussion-propelled and cleverly fashioned. "Out There" is an eerie Outer Limits type of song, where Feather sings lyrics from a fevered Twin Peaks dream fueled by gin and clove cigarettes.  Pianist Shelly Berg
Shelly Berg
Shelly Berg

piano
adds a block-chord solo that perfectly fits into the Twilight Zone of Feather's poetry (derived, she admits, from The X-Files).

Feather adapts music from Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
Enrico Pieranunzi
b.1949
piano
on "I Took Your Hand," while the too-smart "Indiana Lana" assimilates Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
1899 - 1974
piano
's "Jubilee Stomp." Spreading her mojo over the two disparate pieces, she anoints them with her special brand of genius and fun. File Tales of the Unusualunder "the smartest jazz lyrics you are likely to hear."


Track Listing: The Hole in the Map; Off-the-Grid Girl; Where is Everybody?; The Usual Suspects; Five; Sweet Miriam; Out There; Get a Room; Cowbirds; I Took Your Hand (Fellini's Waltz); Indiana Lana; To Live Another Day; Ahh.

Personnel: Lorraine Feather: vocals, lyricist; Russell Ferrante: piano (1-6, 9, 12, 13), arranger (1, 4, 5, 9, 13); Shelley Berg: piano and arrangements (7, 8, 10, 11); Michael Valerio: bass (1-10, 12); Grant Geissman: guitar (1-6, 12); Mike Miller: guitar (7, 8); Michael Shapiro: drums (1-5, 12), percussion (1, 3, 4, 5, 12); Gregg Field: drums (6, 7, 8, 10) Charles Bisharat: violin (1-3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12); Lorraine Feather: background vocals (1, 5, 7, 13); Carlos Del Rosario: background vocals (13); Eddie Arkin: arranger (2, 3, 6, 12).

Record Label: Jazzed Media

Style: Vocal


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