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July/August 2007

Sara Lazarus
It’s All Right With Me
Dreyfus Records

Two years ago, Delaware-born expat Sara Lazarus made an auspicious debut with the Paris-recorded Give Me the Simple Life, a potentially great showcase for her solid vocal talents marred by too many overly rambunctious arrangements. This time around, Lazarus has wisely placed herself in more comfortable surroundings, backed by guitarist Biréli Lagrène’s distinctly Django-esque, piano-less Gipsy Project.

The results are exceptionally satisfying. Yes, when pushed a bit hard, Lazarus can still sound a wee bit strident, most evident on a blistering “Down With Love.” But such moments are far too infrequent to mar what is otherwise a sublime collection of standards. As before, Lazarus is at her best when keeping the bounce light and easy, particularly on her gently swinging “The Way You Look Tonight,” the dreamily unhurried “Taking a Chance on Love” and a honey-lined “Deed I Do.” She enfolds herself in such fawn-soft ballads as “Jim,” “Embraceable You” and “In the Wee Small Hours,” all of which suggest an alluring hint of Rosemary Clooney.

Originally published in July/August 2007
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