April 5, 2001
What happens when you’re too old to rock n’ roll and too young to die? You learn to appreciate music that doesn’t come with the instructions, “To be played at maximum volume.”
So it was a particularly pleasant experience to put on Lynn Lawson’s first CD, Tenderly and enjoy what appears to be a nearly flawless CD which explores the worldly side of the jazz and cabaret repertoire. Lawson is a veteran of the local cabaret scene who was working on her vocal chops in the 70s when downtown Fort Wayne still contained such places as the legendary Johnny’s Nightcap. She quit singing professionally for a long time, and only in the last five years has she returned to the newly invigorated local music scene, appearing with intimate back-up bands at The Oyster Bar, Bill’s Bistro and corporate gigs. What a loss for all those years, but what a gain now for local fans.
Recorded at Tempel Recording and Soundmill Studios, and mixed and mastered at Soundmill, Tenderly is Lawson’s love note to the great songs and their great lyrics that you can probably appreciate only after you haven’t listened to your Deep Purple albums for a while. The musicians are an all-star band of the best the area has to offer: Eric Clancy on keyboards; Mike Patterson and Kevin Piekarski on bass; and Doug Laughlin, Neal Graham and Kent Klee on drums. And, most poignantly, Dick Quigley, the legendary saxophone player who died shortly after the CD was recorded. Quigley’s masterful playing is immediately evident on the title track, Tenderly, with its exquisite, breathy phrasing providing a perfect counterpoint to Lawson’s smoky voice. They evoke late-night dancing in an intimate nightclub, as the hour gets late and all things seem possible (My, someone throw some cold water on this boy).
Lawson chooses songs largely for the lyrics, and here they are delightful and adult. From “Peel Me a Grape,” for example: “Skin me a peach/ poach me a prune/ talk to me nice/ either abuse me or lose me/ I’m getting hungry/ peel me a grape.” Or, “Sleepin Bee,” with lyrics by Truman Capote: “A sleepin bee once told me/ you can walk with your feet off the ground/ when your one true love has been found.” This song, by the way, features only Lawson and a snaky acoustic bass: the effect is hypnotic.
This is one CD Mr. whatzup may not get back for his own collection. It is available at Borders Books and by ordering on-line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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