Kate Baldwin - Let's See What Happens Songs of Lane & Harburg
Broadway sensation Kate Baldwin's debut CD is a WOW, as is her performance as Irish immigrant heroine Sharon in the new revival of Finian's Rainbow that opened recently to unanimous praise.
Baldwin is every bit the discovery critics claim her to be, a stunning musical heroine. She wields a radiant soprano as fresh as spring, pure as rain, bright as sunshine. She can sing 'em swoonily romantic (as in He Wasn't You), breezily swingy (How About You?) or exuberantly peppy and a tad daft (I Like the Likes of You.) Naturally, she includes one of Finian's signature songs, the lovely How Are Things in Glocca Morra?. Other Lane-Harburg gems include the whimsical Poor You and two particularly touching love songs, Where Have I Seen Your Face Before? and The World Is in My Arms, the latter closing the disc with an artful piano arrangement stressing its Schubertian beauty. Baldwin's sampling also spans Lane's songs with lyricists Alan Jay Lerner, Frank Loesser, Ralph Freed and Dorothy Fields, and Harburg's songs with composers Harold Arlen, Sammy Fain, Vernon Duke and Jule Styne. Whether a well-known standard or a rediscovered gem, every track proves a delight. They're all enhanced by Rob Berman's astute musical direction and fresh, stylish arrangements. Baldwin goes to town with Lane and Fields' Have Feet, Will Dance, as a gal gearing up for a date with indefatigable determination. She's pure torch in Harburg and Arlen's Paris Is a Lonely Town (the French cousin of Arlen's better-known Blues in the Night.) She unleashes the Caribbean zest of the same team's I Don't Think I'll End It All Today, with Harburg's witty lyrics worthy of Dorothy Parker. Perhaps best of all are two neglected glories from Harburg and Styne's Darling of the Day. Baldwin gives an exquisite reading of That Something Extra Special, one of Styne's most beautiful ballads. A brilliant arrangement pairs the same show's Let's See What Happens, a waltzing invitation to romance, with Lane and Lerner's Open Your Eyes, an invitation to appreciate the world around us — and sets both against Johann Strauss's Emperor Waltz as an ingenious case of song-mingling. Baldwin's rhapsodic performance sweeps you away. If you want an experience that makes you feel glad to be alive, grab LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS.