Generations of students know Adrienne Cooper as a teacher of Yiddish song. She's on numerous Yiddish song compilations and front woman in "Mikveh," the Jewish all-women band. But meanwhile she has published a couple of solo CDs as well: "Dreaming in Yiddish," a 1994 recording on which she's accompanied by pianist Joyce Rosenzweig, and the just-published "Enchanted." Both are overwhelming. Cooper's power of interpretation, along with a great voice capable of most sensitive shades and tints, turns the songs into something totally new -- even if these songs might belong to the most popular of Yiddish repertoire. "Enchanted" has about fifty percent original songs. Part of them are from the Jenny Romaine/Great Small Works production of "The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln," a fantastic play (I was lucky enough to have seen it years ago in Toronto) for which Frank London had been musical director and Michael Wex Yiddish advicer; Adrienne Cooper played the lead. Michael Winograd, producer and main arranger of this album, a New York-based musician and composer, adds a variety of musical elements to the songs; brass, jazz, pop, just to name a few. For "Glückel's Ballad of Mother Love," his arrangement has such a strong Tom-Waits-of-the Eighties feel that one expects a Marc Ribot solo any moment; here the solo comes from Winograd's clarinet, accompanied by an excellent Avi Fox-Rosen on guitar. All musicians are first-rate, some are outstanding; Marilyn Lerner (piano) is among them. All arrangements serve the purpose of the songs and Adrienne Cooper's voice and interpretation. Cooper manages to bring four generations together on this album: Track 9 "A Song Book: My Family" unites her voice with the voices of her grandparents and her mother in a song her grandfather recorded on a wax disc in 1947. Cooper's daughter Sarah Mina Gordon, a gifted singer herself, sings with her mother on a few other tracks.
This album actually makes me smile with joy: a great singer plus excellent musicians and arrangements create something very homogenous; a masterpiece in my opinion. The album left me enchanted.