Christine Ebersole - Strings Attached (with Aaron Weinstein)
Two-time Tony Award®-winning actress Christine Ebersole teams with
virtuoso violinist/arranger Aaron Weinstein for a program of classic songs
imbued with originality, musicality, and swing.
Known for her brilliance as an actress and cabaret artist, Ebersole proves
that shes equally talented in the jazz arena on a selection of beautifully
arranged versions of gems from the Great American Songbook.
Tony Award® winner for her roles in 42nd Street and Grey Gardens,
Ebersole is currently starring in the hit TBS sitcom Sullivan & Son, is
featured in the 2013 blockbuster The Big Wedding (which ends with a
song she wrote and performs), and appears in the Fall 2013 Scorsese
drama The Wolf of Wall Street.
Named a Rising Star Violinist by DownBeat, Aaron Weinstein is quickly
earning a reputation as one of the finest jazz violinists of his generation.
As a featured soloist he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln
Center, Wolftrap Center, Birdland, Blue Note, Iridium, and more.
1. Shall We Dance
2. Things We Did Last Summer
3. This Time The Dream's On Me
4. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
5. Am I Blue
6. Moon Dreams
7. I Wish I Were In Love Again
8. Our Love Is Here To Stay
9. After You've Gone/Too Gone Too Long
10. I'll Be Seeing You
11. Jitterbug Waltz
12. Something There
13. La La Lu
Review of STRINGS ATTACHED by site favorite and friend of the site, Rob Lester:
One usually expects the classic "I'll Be Seeing You" to bring home the sentiment and tears, but Christine Ebersole and band take it at a surprisingly brisk pace that perhaps illogically tips the balance toward the bright side of keeping an absentee lover in one's thoughts. But there's another kind of sweetness in the air, even if it avoids much direct outpouring of confronted/analyzed emotion. Silky-smooth vocals and, mostly, an easygoing air are the rule on Strings Attached. This formidable theatre star and versatile actress often seems determined to take things light and breezy and jazzy—or even casually aloof—on her recordings, which include a couple of pairings with Billy Stritch. In the past, it has frequently been an eclectic grab-bag. The potentially deeper material that could be opportunities for explored emotion, heart–on-sleeve vulnerability don't usually "go there." It's nice on the ears, a pleasant but perplexing experience, feeling that she's laying back so smilingly much that we are only getting a small part of her vocal and dramatic skills. Like an actress "on holiday," she seemed to be having a spiffy time gliding through material, sometimes with a wink. However, I often find myself hungry for the full investment and/or more "legit" rich sound that can be captivating when she's immersed in a theatre character.
As I hear this CD, it seems she's come closest to finding—and reveling in—the happy medium. There's more grace, and the looser stuff doesn't feel so tossed off, but more masterfully and meticulously spun. The zippier material is especially well chosen and Aaron Weinstein's superb front-and-center violin work and arrangements are so joyous and plucky that they're irresistible, striking just the right old-timey chord. There's more punch and whimsy. With the strong work of ace accompaniments—inventive pianist Tedd Firth and top bass player Tom Hubbard—this is a team whose members are on the same page and it's pretty easy to be swept along with their flair and fleetness. And there seems to be more attention to the prettiness of the voice as an instrument and focus in this album, which Weinstein also produced.
The opener "Shall We Dance" (the one by the Gershwins, not the The King and I piece) has zip, inviting us to throw our cares away and it works. Another Gershwin collaboration (their last), "Love Is Here to Stay" is serenely warm, albeit not heavy on heavy sentiment, but there's a confidence exuded that makes it settle into a point of view.
On a couple of rewarding tracks, the singer turns serious, some real drama is invested, and the elegance of her voice comes forth. Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is redolent with sorrow and regret, the heartbreak palpable without becoming an indulgent sob story. "After You've Gone" has it both ways, starting as a tender, take-your-time rumination of an inevitable future parting; the violin is heartbreaking in its legato loveliness. This number can also be interpreted as the anticipation of a "you'll be sorry" vengeance, but there's no taste of that at first. However, after a generous taste of honey and maturity, the tempo suddenly picks up and gets feisty and almost festive, see-sawing with another lively song: "Too Gone Too Long." A welcome surprise is a rethinking of "Something There" that jazzes it up vigorously and creatively in such a way that it tickles the ear and is miles away from its original Disney-drenched Beauty and the Beast straightforward origins.
Throughout the recording, the Weinstein wit and sense of joy, always rooted in musicality and vitality, anchors this outing and it becomes quite convincing.