Roberta Duchak: Intersections (2008)
The title of Intersection refers specifically to the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street in New York City. Singer Roberta Duchak has imagined and realized a concept album of songs from The Great White Way that works.
If album's eleven tracks were considered as a set list in any cabaret setting, Intersections would surely be a huge success. It mingles well-known tunes like the Lerner and Loewe classic "Almost Like Being in Love" (from the musical Brigadoon) and Jerome Kern's "Can't Help Loving That Man" (from Showboat), along with some lesser-known songs.
More importantly, Roberta Duchak offers up a well-researched batch of songs from musicals both failed and successful, showing that there are gems that require a searching process. The Jonathan Larson ballad "Seasons of Love," from Rent, is sung with great emotion, as are most of these songs. The forgotten "Whoever You Are, I Love You," from Burt Bacharach's late 1960s Broadway hit Promises, Promises, provides another great emotive opportunity for Duchak.
A salsa version of "Raise the Roof," borrowed from the failed Broadway musical The Wild Party and originating from the pen of Andrew Lippa, gives this album one of its strongest performances. The Cy Coleman musical City of Angels also enables another strong effort from Duchak, with the arch "What You Don't Know About Women." Stephen Sondheim's "So Many People," from his little-known musical Saturday Night, is another fine effort. Finally, a tune from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, "Nothing Too Wonderful to Be True," is a ballad entry written by David Yazbek that also scores.
From a musical perspective, Duchak has surrounded herself with a jazz ensemble that clearly does not lean towards the clichéd presentation of the rhythms and ballads of Broadway. Working with producer Phil Swann, the ensemble features multi-reed specialist Jim Hoke on qualitative clarinet for "Taking a Chance on Love," as well as numerous tenor sax solos and obbligatos. Veteran pianist Pat Coil, as well as Hoke, serve several outstanding opportunities on "Almost Like Being in Love," and the oft-played ballad "Can't Help Lovin' That Man." Some additional fine solo treats are offered by guitarist Pat Bergeson, and the propulsive drums of Bob Mater help make "What You Don't Know About Women" a real jazz-belter.
Overall, Intersections is wonderfully planned and executed.
Track Listing: Let Me Sing And I'm Happy; Taking A Chance On Love; Seasons Of Love; Whoever Whoever You Are,I Love You; Raise The Roof; Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True; Almost Like Being In Love; So In Love; Can't Help Lovin' That Man Of Mine; What You Don't Know About Women; So Many People.
Personnel: Roberta Duchak: vocals; Pat Coil: piano; Charlie Chadwick: basses; Bab Mater: drums; Pat Bergeson: guitar; Jim Hoke: alto, tenor and soprano sax, clarinet, flute, harmonica.
Record Label: Self Produced