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Cry Me a River

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Album Review

Backed by two slightly different musical set ups, song stylist Mary Starr makes her album debut with a program of mostly standards, spiced with a couple of originals. Half the tracks include a string orchestra; for the other half, a big band takes over. The major difference, is that the former has The Elliott Rosoff String Orchestra and French horns, including that of first rate horn player, Tom Varner. Big band tracks omit the strings and horns and add trombones and trumpet. But the effect on Starr's delivery is negligible, i.e., she doesn't do any better or worse with one group or another. Starr's voice is pleasant enough and it comes equipped with all the necessary standard parts. In terms of emotional commitment, it's there as she throws her heart and soul into the lyrics. She gets outstanding support from a set of New York musicians. Kullen Knight's trumpet provides an admirable solo on "Cry Me a River" and Starr's rendition gives Julie London's a run for the money. Ed Pazant's tenor sax solo on "I'm Beginning to See the Light" swings mightily. But on the whole, the set is of uneven quality. The big band arrangements are quite good, but seem to favor the band rather than Starr's vocal needs. On "My Funny Valentine," the band, especially the brass, seems to be going one way and Starr another. The same is true for "'Round Midnight." It is as if the big band was dubbed and sometimes the dubbing was sloppy. There no liner notes to indicate whether this technical device was used. But, these stubs of the toe notwithstanding this is a pleasant vocal outing.

Cry Me a River, Mary Starr
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