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  • Jonathan Widran

VIVIAN LEE, Let's Talk About Love

The typical way (the collective) we listen to full length albums is from the top down, but my entry into the heart-to-heart, alternately lush/caressing and jubilantly swinging storytelling magic of Vivian Lee’s new album Let’s Talk About Love was the final track. On an expansive showcase for the renowned Sacramento jazz singer’s warm, charming and romantically expressive vocals, I at first dared to skip over the well-known standards and relative obscurities by legendary songwriters and composers like Leonard Bernstein (“Some Other Time”), George and Ira Gershwin (“The Man I Love”), Bacharach/David (“Wives and Lovers”), Johnny Mandel/Johnny Mercer (“Emily”), Jimmy Webb (“Didn’t We”) and Bill Evans (“Waltz For Debby”).

Of course those – and a bright, carefree stroll through Doris Day’s once mushy and mystical “Secret Love” – are fab, too. But childhood sweetness grabbed my heart and I wanted to hear first what Vivian could do with “Bein’ Green,” a classic lament originally sung by Kermit the Frog. Quite a lot, it turns out.

After a dreamy piano intro by the wonderful Brendan Lowe (whose work shimmers and grooves throughout the album), she graces the Joe Raposo tune with innocence and sensitivity, with a few phrases of talk-sing punctuating her dreamy narrative. It updates a children's classic for an adult world where more need to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate the differences in others. Let’s Talk About Love should spark a lot of exhilarating romantic musical conversations no matter what shade you are!

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