Lorraine Feather doesn't take us back to those legendary days but brings past days to us. In her last album . "New York City Drag,"Feather crafted lyrics for Fats Waller instrumentals. In "Café Society" she works with tunes by Duke Ellington and Charlie Barnet and also collaborates on new songs by an outstanding list of contemporary composers, including Johnny Mandel, Russell Ferrante, Eddie Arkin, Don Grusin and David Benoit.
Like many great lyricists, her use of language is clever. It is also thoughtful. What sets Feather apart is the use of her imagination to stimulate your own and to draw you into the heart of an emotion, whether joy or melancholy. In short, it's like listening to a story on the radio. With a Feather lyric, you don't just hear, you somehow see!
"We're Rockin' In Rhythm"takes you on a morning trip through a neighborhood where EVERYONE was rockin' to Duke's music of joy. Kids with blasters. Cats, Dogs.Supermarket shoppers in a conga line. What I saw was a children's jazz book, her poetry and colorful art. Duke would have loved this and the Mike Lang/Feather collaboration on "LoveCall." Madly!
Barnet's swing tune, "The Right Idea," and " Big Fun" by Eddie Arkin conjure up weekends and dates while "Jungle Rhythm" with its tom-tom rhythms was just right for its destination, Disney's "The Jungle Book II."
Images abound in these lyrics of love, life and loss. A faded picture of a big band and singer brings us Cafe Society. A nighttime view from a racing train brings the realization that "every life that's burning there is something like my own." Reflections on starlight and loss accompany Mandel's beautiful composition,"The Speed of Light"while"The Green Flash,"about a solar phenomenon Feather experienced suggests Celtic mysticism.
Incisive lyrics deserve superb diction. Feather provides both. Don't let the word "diction" bother you. We're talking lightness and agility, not gravitas! I just can't wait until her next release.