A few months ago on the Amazon.com discussion board, I started a thread with this topic: "Who or What Is Criminally Underrated?" One of our most thoughtful reviewers, Mary Whipple, responded with the late Nancy LaMott, and suggested that if I was at all interested in checking her out, to buy this particular album.
What can I say but thank you, Mary Whipple! This album is exquisite.
Although you will find this album in the jazz section of your Tower Records outlet, it really is more of a cabaret album with jazz sensibilities. Ms. LaMott is without a doubt a cabaret singer, as she not only has a vibrato better suited to cabaret than jazz, but she builds a song with drama, in a way that jazz singers generally don't.
Reviewing this is like reviewing John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman: everything in the album is so gorgeous that to single out one cut is to ignore the others unfairly, and to talk about them all is to create a review that is too long.
I do have to make special mention of two tracks, however.
To me, the highlight is the 8th track of the album, or Sondheim's "Good Thing Going/Not a Day Goes By." Aided by a beautiful, sensitive cello played by Debra Assail-Migliore, this is a perfect dramatic read of this song; from pp to ff, she builds this song so organically that I simply cannot imagine who could have sung this song more completely and more dramatically.
And the last cut is Jimmy Dorsey's "I'm Glad There Is You." This is certainly one of the most neglected love songs performed; I can't think of a more sensitive, heartfelt standard than this. With Ken Sebesky's guitar, Ms. LaMott sells it to the max. A perfect ending to a perfect album. RC