Lee Lessack: In Good Company

No one is working harder than Lee Lessack to keep the increasingly fragile art of cabaret singing on life support. To date, he has released more than 100 discs by some 70 artists (including himself) on his L.A.-based LML label. But never before has Lessack launched so overt an assault as with this 17-track collection that pairs him with a brigade of the genre’s top singers and players. The results are uniformly lovely, especially when Lessack joins forces with Susan Egan on “The Look of Love,” Maureen McGovern on “If You Go Away,” David Burnham on a slow-roasted “Let It Be Me” and composer Stephen Schwartz on the magical “For Good” from his score for Broadway’s Tony-winning Wicked.

Trouble is, despite the accuracy of its title, In Good Company lacks cabaret’s most essential spice-variety. The all-ballad assortment is like a damask table runner: beautiful and tasteful, but ultimately just passively decorative. The one notable-indeed, soaring-exception is his teaming with keyboardist Johnny Rodgers (who coproduced the album with Lessack and whose band backs each track) on the Rodgers-penned “Here’s to You” that pays superlative homage to Simon and Garfunkel.