Get this crazy baby off my head!


Lorraine Feather

Lorraine Feather - Such Sweet Thunder, (Music Of The Duke Ellington Orchestra) - 2004 - Sanctuary

This is a stunning example of contemporary jazz vocals. The arrangements are superb, and the list of contributing musicians is mind blowing. The hugely talented Lorraine Feather has produced a work of outstanding originality here, covering some of The Duke's lesser known compositions and co-compositions. Lorraine has put her own lyrics to these tunes, which in itself is no mean feat. You should buy this album for your jazz collection. It is an exceptional recording. If you haven't heard Lorraine Feather before, give her 2003 CD, "Café Society" a listen.


RHYTHM, GO ‘WAY - (based on “Such Sweet Thunder,” from The Shakesperean Suite by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
THE 101 - (based on “Suburbanite” by Duke Ellington) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
CAN I CALL YOU SUGAR - (based on “Sugar Rum Cherry,” from The Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
IMAGINARY GUY - (Based on “Dancers In Love,” from The Perfume Suite by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
SEPTEMBER RAIN - (Based on “Chelsea Bridge” by Billy Strayhorn) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
TENACITY - (based on “Rexatious” by Rex Stewart) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
BACKWATER TOWN - (based on “Suburban Beauty” by Duke Ellington) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
A PEACEFUL KINGDOM - (based on “On a Turquoise Cloud” by Duke Ellington and Lawrence Brown) Lyrics, Lorraine Feather
LOVELY CREATURES - (based on “Night Creature: Second Movement” by Duke Ellington) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
ANTARCTICA - (based on “The Ricitic” by Duke Ellington) Lyrics by Lorraine Feather
MIGHTY LIKE THE BLUES - Music & Lyrics by Leonard Feather


Lorraine Feather - Vocals, Background Vocals
Shelby Flint , Morgan Ames , Randy Crenshaw , Carmen Twillie - Background Vocals
Terri Lyne Carrington , Chuck Berghofer , Gregg Field - Drums
Jay Mason , Brian Scanlon , Bill Liston - Reeds
Glenn Berger , Jeff Driskill - Reeds, Tenor Saxophone
Terry Harrington - Tenor Saxophone
Andy Martin , Charlie Morillas , Bruce Otto - Trombone
Donald Clarke , Willie Murillo, Wayne Bergeron , Jeff Bunnell , Gary Grant - Trumpet
Peter Erskine - Horn
Mike Lang , Shelly Berg - Piano
Russell Ferrante - Bass, Piano
Dave Carpenter - Bass
Grant Geissman - Guitar


It's a shame that Lorraine Feather wasn't able to contribute lyrics to the music of Duke Ellington prior to his death in 1974, as she's a natural storyteller. Ellington composed or co-wrote most of the 11 songs on this CD, though Feather chose lesser-known and especially challenging material to embellish with her gifts. She is also a superb singer who gets the most out of every track, joined by a large cast of talented musicians who sound as if they've played every chart together night after night for years. It's hard to beat her hilarious "Imaginary Guy" (based upon "Dancers in Love"), a terrific ditty about a girl so fed up with the opposite sex that she dreamed up the ideal man in her mind. The obscure bossa nova "The Ricitic," written by Ellington for his small group session with Coleman Hawkins, is transformed to the sidesplitting "Antarctica" (sample lyrics: "I cried all night/That's half a year"), a song that is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone of the sourest curmudgeon. The dark-tinged "Lovely Creatures" (based upon the second movement to "Night Creature") is not without its humorous moments ("You've got looks and bucks and yet these blues/Seem to stick to you like gum to shoes"). She wrote the words to "September Rain" (adapted from Billy Strayhorn's gorgeous ballad "Chelsea Bridge") a number of years earlier and recorded it with her group In Full Swing. This chart, with the rhythm section arranged by pianist Mike Lang and the vocal group by Morgan Ames, is every bit as lush as the original instrumental, showcasing Feather's upper range and Terry Harrington's mellow tenor sax. "The 101" is a hard-charging reworking of "Suburbanite" that tells of a dash down a highway to catch up with her lover. The finale, "Mighty Like the Blues," features words and music by the late Leonard Feather, Lorraine's father. Ellington recorded it in 1938 and again in 1960, though her version, jointly arranged by Russell Ferrante and Bill Elliott, will likely eclipse the maestro's own recordings. © Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

Aside from the great mixing & mastering job, (Which I'll assume Lorraine held court over), I give this CD project a resounding.........WOW!! Lorraine's vocal delivery & vibrato are something other pop/jazz singers should reckon with. She uses both her vibrato and the words of her renditions as a means to an end.........Namely, to give life, meaning, and interpretation to her music. To be succinct, in my eyes, she succeeds. Lorraine excels in her up-tempo rhythms, singing multiple notes & complex phrases, as well as sustained notes. She's a singer's singer. As far as her big band is concerned, the band is crisp, tight, dynamic & consummate in its prowess. As my readers know, I too have a fine big band, so I'd be remiss if I didn't pay a slight editorial comment to the band's artistic ability. You'll love this disc, the'gem' of the project being her vocal rendition of Ellington's ''September Rain.' '© George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman, www.ejazznews.com


Lorraine Feather, a native of New York City who grew up in Los Angeles, is the daughter of jazz critic Leonard Feather and his wife, Jane (a professional singer), while jazz legend Billie Holiday was her godmother. Exposed to a variety of music in her household, such a career almost seemed to be her destiny, though her parents neither pushed nor discouraged her. After finishing school, Feather returned to Manhattan to pursue acting, doing a bit of singing to pay the bills, including cabaret. She was in the Broadway and touring casts of Jesus Christ Superstar and later sang backup for Grand Funk Railroad and Petula Clark. Open to many musical interests, Feather began focusing on jazz in the late '70s, making her debut on an album by pianist Joanne Grauer and recording her first jazz LP for Concord (Sweet Lorraine) in 1978. In the 1990s, Feather became a first-rate jazz singer as a member of the vocal group Full Swing, developing her expressive contralto to capture the essence of every song. She began regularly contributing lyrics to their repertoire, but her writing career blossomed when she began recording on her own. Her ability to write lyrics to challenging, often obscure instrumentals by Fats Waller and Duke Ellington, while also collaborating with several excellent, currently active songwriters, has impressed many jazz critics. Humor is especially her strong suit ("Imaginary Guy," "You're Outa Here," "Antarctica," and "Indiana Lana"), though her ballads, swing vehicles, and pop songs also merit strong praise. Feather has also written extensively for television (she has earned seven Emmy nominations) and movie soundtracks, including The Jungle Book 2 and Julie Andrews' vocal comeback in The Princess Diaries 2. Opera star Jessye Norman performed one of her songs ("Faster, Higher, Stronger") at the opening of the 1996 Olympics. © Ken Dryden, All Music Guide


Lorraine Feather is a lyricist/songwriter. She was born in Manhattan. Her father was jazz writer Leonard Feather; her mother Jane was a former big band singer and ex-roommate of Peggy Lee. Feather’s godmother was Billie Holiday. Her husband is Tony Morales, formerly a drummer for artists such as The Rippingtons, David Benoit and Rickie Lee Jones. Morales changed careers in the late 1990s, turning to Internet management. He led Silicon Graphics’ web team for ten years. The couple moved from Los Angeles to Half Moon Bay, CA at the beginning of this period. In 2007 they relocated to the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Lorraine Feather began working in television as a lyricist in 1992 and has received seven Emmy nominations. Her lyrics for children include Disney’s Dinosaurs series on ABC and the MGM films Babes In Toyland and An All Dogs Christmas; Feather and composer Mark Watters wrote the themes for MGM’s TV shows All Dogs Go To Heaven and The Lionhearts; they also created the piece “Faster, Higher, Stronger” for Jessye Norman to sing in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics. Feather and composer Larry Grossman wrote the song that Julie Andrews performed in The Princess Diaries 2. Feather has also created lyrics for Disney’s feature film The Jungle Book 2 (with Australian jazz musician Paul Grabowsky), and for Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween, the PBS series Make Way for Noddy, and the Candy Land and My Little Pony films for Hasbro Toys. Feather’s work has been heard on numerous records, in films and on television. Her songs have been covered extensively by artists such as Phyllis Hyman, Kenny Rankin, Patti Austin, Diane Schuur and Cleo Laine. Many of her own solo CDs have featured contemporary lyrics to formerly instrumental pieces written by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other pre-bop composers. Feather’s recordings have received glowing reviews in every major jazz magazine. Down Beat has called her work “deliciously savvy”; Jazz Times referred to her as “a lyrical Dorothy Parker” and her lyrical reinventions as “pure genius.” In 2005, Lorraine Feather began working as lyricist on Canum Entertainment’s theatrical project The Thief, based on the Oscar-nominated Russian film and featuring the music of Russian composer Vladimir Shainskiy; The Thief debuted at LA’s El Portal Theatre in the summer of 2007. Soon after, she started work on Canum’s next musical, Pest Control, with co-lyricist Scott de Turk. She was also commissioned to write lyrics for a musical production of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities (music by New York neo-classical composer Stefania de Kenessey). American Opera Projects has presented excerpts from this work, and it was featured at the annual Derriere Guard concert in New York in October of 2007, with Tom Wolfe as keynote speaker.


A.O.O.F.C said...


Rick said...

Thanks for this one. I've heard she's a witty songwriter, so I'll give her a try.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers,Rick! She's worth a listen. Let me know your opinion. TTU soon, & thanks