Michael Gore
& Lynn Ahrens,
(Decca, 2003)

What a collection of music! If you like variety, this is the CD for you. If you want a soul-searching, deep song, check out the first selection, "How Shall I See You Through My Tears." If you want a light-hearted Christmas song, check out "Turkey Lurkey Time," which is sure to make you smile. A slow dance? You can dance away the first four selections. Need a cardiac workout? Try the fifth, "The Want of a Nail," but watch out for the stops and rhythm changeups. They will throw you.

Scan the list of instruments that follows and you will get an idea of the smorgasbord that awaits to fill your musical appetite. Kenny Brescia (electric and acoustic guitars, banjo), Jeff Potter (drums, percussion), Tony Conniff (bass), Tim Weil (piano, synthesizer), Daniel A. Weiss (organ), Arthur Fiacco (cello), Richard Rosenberg (trombone), Mark Pender (trumpet), Jerry Vivino (alto and tenor sax, clarinet), and vocals by Kenny Brescia, Tony Conniff, Jeff Potter, Tim Weil, Todd Graff, Aisha Dehaas, Idina Menzel, and John Eric Parker.

Picking one favorite out of this collection is extremely difficult. I love "The Want of a Nail," which has brass, changeups, heavy percussion, drama, layered voices, a walking bass that requires the listener's body to respond, and one of the strongest female voices to be found. I particularly like the way it begins after a complete rest with a bouncing bass lick that gyrates your insides. This selection should be listened to at a loud volume to really feel the effects best.

But that does not mean that I did not respond equally well to "How Shall I See You Through My Tears," featuring Sasha Allen, Steven Cutts and the Company. Although it has a totally different style, it reached me deeply within my heart. It also got me on my feet for a slow dance. It has layered meaning and can be taken in any of several ways and will mean different things to listeners, from a spiritual message to raw emotions.

This CD has it all. It is excellently composed and manages to introduce the ideal voice at the precise moment for maximum impact. From folk songs to big band sounds, it is all here. This is dramatic composition at its best.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 20 December 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.