It has to have been difficult for Lorraine Feather. Her father, Leonard Feather, was the man who not only single handedly defined the role of the modern jazz critic, but was also arguably the greatest jazz journalist ever. That's a huge shadow to grow up under, especially if the daughter has talents and ambitions that heavily lean towards the aural arts. Lorraine, however, has fashioned a career that is apologetic to no one.
After early work in the theater, Lorraine moved into jazz singing. During her early years she found a proclivity towards deft and clever lyric writing. Teaming her lyrics with a developing song writing ability led to such great success a variety of jazz artists, including Patti Austin, David Benoit, Djavan, Phyllis Hyman, Kenny Rankin and Diane Schuur, recording Lorraine's songs. In total, her music has also appeared on a variety of television shows and in Hollywood movies.
Tales Of The Unusual is Feather's ninth album as a leader. Working in collaboration with Yellowjackets keyboardist Russell Ferrente, movie and television composer and producer Eddie Arkin, and jazz pianist Shelly Berg, among others, Feather's newest recording is brooding, dark, mournful and fun in the same manner as Elvis Costello's incredibly eclectic North recording.
Each of the 13 songs don't just move in their own manner, but are so anti-pop they're almost indie rock if not for the jazz inflections, ala Sarah Vaughn, Feather's voice naturally harkens toward. With a sparse backing consisting of a variety of rhythm section soloists and ensemble arrangements, plus Charles Bisharat's crisp contrapuntal violin lines, Feather is able to dig into the words in such a personal way she is totally untouched by trite and pedestrian jazz vocal expectations.
Highlights include "Off-The-Grid Girl," where Feather's vocalize mixes so perfectly with the words it's almost impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. A rerecording of "Five," originally found on Feather's The Body Remembers CD, is presented here in a much more personal tone and more in the style of Manhattan Transfer's more sly tracks. That Feather has hit her full musical maturity is beyond question, that she has hit her peak is still in doubt.