A very versatile performer with stints in the movies, musical comedies, and on TV, Lainie Kazan's first solo album as a recording artist can be added to her already full résumé. Once an understudy for Barbra Streisand (who will never be mistaken for a jazz vocalist), Kazan has adopted some of her mannerisms including a weighty, emotional vocal approach to the music. In terms of emotions, Kazan leaves nothing behind. Most of the 16 familiar and not so familiar standards are presented heavy on the drama, richly endowed with passion and poignancy much in the tradition of Edith Piaf. There's some relief from the density with a dancehall Sophie Tucker- like rendition of "Some of These Days," including the double entendres. On, "Body & Soul," which has been recorded by virtually everybody, "Body and Soul" is done soft and soulfully, with a very passionate coda, à la Morgana King. John Burr's bowed bass provides the somber backdrop for "When Your Lover Is Gone." Kazan is accompanied on most of the cuts by just piano or piano with the rest of the rhythm section. Vincent Herring's appropriately mournful saxophone is on "The Man That Got Away" and "Embraceable You." The latter is done as a trio of Kazan's voice, Herring's horn, and Don Rebic's piano, and is an album highlight. Hubert Laws' flute shows up for a relatively subdued, slightly Latin tinged "I Concentrate on You." Given the turgid playlist, Kazan's gray interpretations and few moments of cheer, do not listen to this album on a dark, cold, rainy day or if you are otherwise depressed. A very good singer, but for her next album, Kazan will hopefully get better advice on song selection.
Born: 15 May 1940 in Brooklyn, NY
Years Active: '90s