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Two White Mothers by Liz Magnes and Sandra Bendor

With a title like Two White Mothers, it’s hard to know what to expect. Social satire? Comedy? Rap? Folk? In this case, it is a release from jazz duo Liz Magnes and Sandra Bendor.

Magnes is a pianist who has performed throughout the world, including in jazz clubs in Egypt. As a result, she sometimes incorporates world music into her improvisations. Bendor is a vocalist who began performing as a folksinger for the U.S. National Humanities Series. She lived in Israel for 15 years and was voted "singer of the year" there for her work. The duo’s first performance was in the middle of the Sinai Desert at an American early warning radar station in 1979. And, yes, both are mothers.

Magnes and Bendor are the only artists on the album, and with this intimacy strive to give equal importance to both piano and voice. The CD opens with the bright, rhythmic moves of Frank Loesser’s classic "If I Were A Bell" from "Guys and Dolls." The CD, however, isn’t full of your expected list of standards.

The duo then moves into a slow and delicate version of "America The Beautiful," which is combined with the theme from "The Deer Hunter," a movie about the effects of Vietnam. Other unexpected moves include a fresh, jazzy version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and "The Glory of Love" performed as a musical prayer. On "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," the pair trades in the song’s cowboy attitude for a more modern, urbane treatment. In another twist, Magnes throws in some heavy Middle Eastern influences into her playing on "You And The Night And The Music."

Throughout the album, the women perform with a relaxed confidence that allows them to follow their own musical muses. Perhaps, this is a sign of not only musical but life experience.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Liz Magnes and Sandra Bendor
  • CD Title: Two White Mothers
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: JazzD Recordings
  • Tracks: If I Were A Bell, America The Beautiful/The Deer Hunter, To Keep My Love Alive, Tennessee Waltz, Come Back To Bed, You And The Night And The Music, The Inch Worm, Moonshine Lullaby, Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar, Glory Of Love, Scarlet Ribbons, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, Take Me Out To The Ballgame, and True Love
  • Musicians: Liz Magnes (piano), and Sandra Bendor (vocals)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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