Lost In the Stars – Deborah Shulman & Larry Zalkind


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”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.” Simply put, this is fine music.”
-Bob Karlovits
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Vocalist Deborah Shulman and brother-in-law and trombonist Larry Zalkind give an almost classical reading of the Bernstein-Sondheim-Weill songbooks. 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. In the end, what this is, is songcraft of the highest order.”
– C. Michael Bailey

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