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The opening Bernstein pieces are perfectly punctuated by Zalkind's classically-trained trombone. He provides a brass backbone to these carefree pieces as Shulman sings them with sensitivity and insight. The Mack the Knife' here is no Bobby Darin, it is almost Late Romantic, like Richard Strauss having drinks with Weill and the two playing truth or dare at the piano. Most sophisticated are the Sondheim pieces. Children Will Listen' is an adult lullaby warning for adults and Losing My Mind' is the result of not heeding that warning. Leave You' may be the greatest breakup song most people have never heard. It must be noted that this disc is produced by Ted Howe, a West Coast musical mainstay and close friend of the principles. His considerable arranging talents were responsible for a novel Mack' and his horn arrangements for Zalkind make Lucky to be Me' and It's Love' sparkle. The title piece, Weill's Lost in the Stars' from Cry, The Beloved Country (1948), went on to become a favorite of pianist Bill Evans. It is no wonder as melodically rich as the song is, Evans would have had to have close empathy with it, lyrically and harmonically. Shulman lays waste to the emotional landscape of the song as Howe further deepens the piece with his careful direction of Zalkind.
Songs by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Kurt Weill all share elements seldom seen in current composition: good melody and even better lyrics. Lost in the Stars' is a collection of 14 classics from these three composers from singer Deborah Shulman and trombonist Larry Zalkind. They do them in a jazz-like fashion, with small bits of improvisation from the instrumentalists. But the best part of album is the song presentation of Shulman, who has a fine mezzo voice and a great grasp of songs. Her versions of Sondheim's Children Will Listen' and Not While I'm Around' have all the heart needed in those pieces. Her The Ladies Who Lunch' has a sense of swing and cynicism. The most original version, though, is her slow version of Mack the Knife' with a string trio and accordion. Besides fine accompaniment throughout, an overdubbed Zalkind also is a one-man section on My Ship.
TRACK LISTING: 1. Something's Coming(3:55) 2. Lucky To Be Me(6:06) 3. Mack the Knife(5:48) 4. The Ladies Who Lunch(3:33) 5. Children Will (5:21) 6. Its Love(4:24) 7. I Feel Pretty(5:39) 8. Losing My Mind(5:38) 9. September Song(4:37) 10. Ain't Got No Tears Left(4:47) 11. My Ship(2:32) 12. Leave You(4:44 13. Lost In the Stars(5:13) 14. Work(s)~No One is Alone / Not While I'm Around(6:21)