Friday, February 5, 2016

Deborah Latz: sur l'instant

June Moon Productions
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: sur l'instant

There’s only one thing wrong with this album. It’s too darn short.

We folks on the West Coast periodically find out that not living in, or near, New York City can be a real pain. Such is the case with my only now discovering Deborah Latz, the performer featured on this release. I’m quite unhappy that it took me so long to become aware of her, and her many talents. 

Although born in Northern California, Latz moved to the East Coast fairly early in her career. That said — and what’s particularly galling — is the fact that she was featured on Lynn Darroch’s radio show in Portland, Oregon (my stomping ground) in May of 2011, and yet I missed her.

Ah, well. Better late than never.

Latz is an actress with an award-winning career in dramatic and musical theater; she’s also a writer, arranger and singer/performer. (Note that I’m not using the term vocalist, because she’s much more than that.)
Her voice falls in the alto/soprano range, and is wonderfully expressive. Although she has dead-on pitch when necessary, she hasn’t ever found a flatted-note she can avoid, which puts her in the company of numerous boppers.

She’s backed on this album by French pianist Alain Jean-Marie and bassist Giles Natures. The track list includes standards such as “All the Things You Are,” “Over the Rainbow” and “Nature Boy,” along with relatively unknown melodies such as the “Love Theme” from Spartacus. She also handles great swingers from the world of jazz: “Throw It Away,” “Weep No More,” “Four,” “Blue Monk” and “Mr. PC.” 

All too often, she obeys the classic stage adage of leaving the audience wanting more; some of the tracks just aren’t long enough.

Although I’ve yet to see her in person, the Web offers plenty of short videos that demonstrate what it means to sell a song.

And I swear, Ms. Latz: I’ll never miss another of your albums ... or any appearances, if you happen to visit Oregon again!

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