Audrey's CD This Is No Dream is now available at:
From a beautifully moody "Ill Wind" ... to a gently done "Love Held Lightly" ..., she consistently
burnished each song with the polish of intelligence and the cloth of
class. When she did sing an Arlen classic, like "Come Rain or Come
Shine" ..., she put it over in an original way - in
this instance, taking it from the top with just a sax (Jerry Dodgion)
wailing alongside her. Possessing a celestial soprano voice that is as
sure in its tones as the stars are secure in the sky, Lavine can also
slide naturally and easily into a Broadway sound that has the smell of
greasepaint and the roar of the crowd.
Audrey is featured in Destination New York, released by Sugo Music as a part of the National Geographic "Destination" series, with Bobby Short, Betty Buckley, Mary Cleere Haran, and Julie Wilson, among others.
Click on album cover image to order. CDs are $16.00 each.
This Is No Dream
At Home With Arlen
To order by mail, send your check for $16.00 + $2.00 shipping and handling for each CD purchased, to:
23 West 82nd Street, 1E
New York, NY 10024
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This Is No Dream: Tracks and Sound Clips
This is No Dream
Mpeg Audio (mp3), 128Kbps.
Mpeg Audio (mp3), 64Kbps.
At Home With Arlen: Tracks and Sound Clips
Song of the Gigolo
Mpeg Audio (mp3), 128Kbps.
Mpeg Audio (mp3), 64Kbps.
Audrey Lavine's debut album comes hot on the heels of her highly impressive performances in New York and other hotspots across America, where she garnished rave reviews and solidly established her reputation on the cabaret scene.
What is stunning about Audrey Lavine is the truly amazing depth and breadth of her vocal talent. A crystal clear voice pierces the silence in the opening track, a clever medley of This is No Dream and Out of This World, that simultaneously emphasizes the other-worldly, ethereal quality of Lavine’s pure soprano and exemplifies the more earthy vocal quality she can also summon, so perfectly attuned to the themes of the two songs she has chosen to combine.
The perfect match of delivery and song continue, with a sensuous How Long Has This Been Going On?, chills indeed running up and down the spine, an urgent Fascinating Rhythm and a heartfelt rendition of Leiber and Stoller's Honey, Can I Put On Your Clothes. Lavine creates an exquisitely sensual mood and then snaps into fast-paced comedic mode, dexterously negotiating through her own densely-packed and very clever lyrics set to the relentlessly busy Holiday For Strings.
Another mood change and we're into the blues. Lavine is as secure in this repertoire as in all the others she assails. This section of the album is no perfunctory stop-off on some whirlwind tour of popular music, but a committed exploration of a neighborhood populated by the likes of Harold Arlen, Harry Warren and Suzanne Vega. The Boulevard of Broken Dreams is particularly memorable, Lavine injecting no little amount of gallic angst into the performance.
It will come as no surprise that an album so eclectic in style will cover the work of very diverse musical talents, but it is not always easy for a singer to make the whole thing work in its own right, with coherence and an overall sense of the performer's own persona. Lavine effortlessly meets the demands of fusing such disparate sources of material as Dolly Parton and George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Billy Joel; a touching fragility in How Sad No One Waltzes Anymore is juxtaposed with a full-throated cry of anguish in I Had Myself a True Love, comic novelty in Egyptian Ella sits comfortably next to bitter-sweet lyricism in She's Always a Woman.
Audrey Lavine is set to be a major presence on the cabaret scene and this recording will provide a happy reference point for those lucky enough to have caught her act, as well as a serious inducement to those contemplating hearing her in person. It's very clear, Lavine is here to stay.
-- Peter Edwards, Cabaret Showcase, June 2001
Audrey Lavine's initial album, This Is No Dream , grows out of one of her cabaret shows of the same name which was instrumental in her being awarded the 2001 Bistro Award for Outstanding Vocalist. This album demonstrates Lavine 's understanding and mastery of the essence of cabaret. This becomes immediately apparent with the eclectic, multi-generational program, which runs the gamut from familiar standards, including How Long Has This Been Going On, to the tongue-in-cheek Egyptian Ella and then to a sultry, provocative One Mint Julep, where she engages in some heart-to-heart patter. Then there's a combination of edgy in-the-gutter, down-in-the-dumps tunes: Wail of the Reefer Man, Caramel, and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Then she does a one-woman reprise of the Boswell Sisters' version of Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia. More versatility is heard as Lavine turns from the glib and flip to an absolutely enthralling, dramatic This Is No Dream, done in a stunningly pure soprano. It is with the latter style that she leaves the listener with When You Wish Upon a Star as the album's coda. Irrespective of the type of song she is presenting or her mannerisms in doing so, Lavine remembers that the main role of cabaret is to tell a story. It's the words that count even more than the music in which they are embedded. The music may make the toe tap, but it's the words that touch the heart one way or another. She gets plenty of help during this performance from Ross Patterson on piano, Ratzo B. Harris on bass, and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Heick, cabaret veterans all. Showcasing the keenly honed multi-dimensional singing endowments of a top cabaret performer, this maiden album is highly recommended.
-- Dave Nathan, AMG All Music Guide, June 2002
You have only to listen to the two Gershwin songs, How Long Has This Been Going On and Fascinating Rhythm and you will have made up your mind about the special warmth that Audrey conveys on the 19 selections featured on this superb album. Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's classic Out of This World and I Had Myself a True Love are amazingly stunning. Audrey wrote words to David Rose's Holiday for Strings and it is uniquely a very special delight in sound. Chance taking at its best. Uncanny, at every turn Audrey's is an overwhelming and remarkable voice.
-- Dan Singer, In Tune International, Jan/Feb 2001
Is Audrey Lavine Schizophrenic?
This is no joke. I mean this, as Dame Edna would say, in kind and loving way. I've just finished playing her new CD (not a CDr) called This Is No Dream, Ostinato CD001, and it's a definite keeper. The only thing is, I'm convinced she must be twelve different people.
The album starts out, quite unusually, with This Is No Dream, a 1939 song by Benny Davis, Tommy Dorsey, and Ted Shapiro that I don't believe I've ever heard before. It's a dreamy ballad, practically an art song, and sung by Ms. Lavine in what I took to be a legit or semi-legit style voice (not that I begin to profess any expertise in such matters). Not having hear Ms. Lavine sing before, I really didn't have an idea of what she would sound like. She then segues from that song into Arlen's "Out Of This World" (which she nails) so smoothly that you would have thought the two songs were really one. Anyway, not the sort of song or song style one expects to hear as an opening number. As a result, I was led to expect that the entire album was in the vein of a Sylvia McNair cross-over album, albeit with a much more varied songlist. At the same time, I usually find an entire album art song-ish songs sung by that type of singer to be a bit wearying, Dawn Upshaw notwithstanding.
Not to worry, as it turns out. The next song was the Gershwin classic How Long Has This Been Going On. Only this time, it's sung by the second Audrey Lavine, who sounds just like your prototypical cabaret singer. But wait, there's more. There's also Audrey Lavine the blues singer, Audrey Lavine the light comedienne, Audrey Lavine the pop vocalist, Audrey Lavine the southern peach, Audrey Lavine the vamp, and so forth. With changes in accents and singing styles, she sounds completely different on virtually every track. She performs patter and novelty songs with equal ease as a down and dirty number like One Mint Julep or Arlen's exquisite I Had Myself A True Love. (She does particularly well with Arlen, also performing his I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues and the less-familiar Wail Of The Reefer Man.)
To me, at least, someone like Kiri Te Kanawa sounds the same regardless of what she's singing. She may try to adapt her style somewhat when singing cross-over material (with varying success depending on the material), but she still sounds like Kiri. If you heard several of the songs on this CD in separate contexts, you'd be hard pressed, I think, to recognize that it was the same singer. Yet it doesn't come across gimmicky or forced. In virtually every instance, it sounds like it would be the natural (and most effective) way for Audrey to sing the song. Her voice also has personality, which is important. There's nothing I hate more than songs that are sung well, but sound mechanical and lifeless.
I hope it's clear by now that, despite my references to McNair and Te Kanawa, that Ms. Lavine does not sound anything like their ilk on the vast majority of the tracks. And what was the last CD that you played that included songs by Irving Berlin and Dolly Parton, Harry Warren and Suzanne Vega, George Gershwin and Billy Joel? I particularly liked her Egyptian Ella, (to me, at least) a seemingly obscure 1931 comic novelty song by Walter Doyle of the type I'm always a sucker for, and her Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia by Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish from 1932, sort of a distaff version of Sweet Georgia Brown as sung by pseudo-Barbara Cook.
If I have one criticism, it's that the song list is almost too varied, and I would have preferred that she would have stayed in the largely '20-'30s time period. And while I never tire of hearing How Long Has This Is Going On no matter who is the singer, as much as I love She's Always A Woman, it's always going to be Billy Joel's song to me (and if a woman does sing it, I think it works better from a musical standpoint with a lower voice, such as Karen Aker's). But those nits aside, I'm pretty confident that this CD will make my year end best list.
For one person who I know who'll ask, she's accompanied by piano and bass, but also by Aaron Heick's extremely prominent work on a variety of reeds that give many of the songs a slightly different sound than one is use to hearing in this sort of album. For others that might ask, it's available through her website, http://www.AudreyLavine.com, Footlight Records, and perhaps other forums. And no, I've received no compensation from Audrey for any of the above remarks, which she will likely be as surprised as anyone to read here.
-- Darrel C. Karl, November 30, 2000.