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Gary Lemel: Lost in Your Arms

It’s not unusual for a young vocalist to tire of all the rigor and rejection and opt instead for a more even-keeled career. Rarely, as a rule, do they return. Fortunately, Gary LeMel is one of the exceptions. Launching his singing career at age 17, he toured with Anita O’Day and recorded for Vee Jay. Then, when the thundering advance of the British Invasion put the kibosh on singers of his ilk, LeMel began a long and prosperous career as a music executive. For the past 14 years he’s been with Warner Brothers, where he currently serves as president of the film music division, and has brought his business and artistic acumen to a string of hugely successful soundtracks including The Bodyguard, Batman and Eyes Wide Shut.

In 1999, after several years’ absence, LeMel returned to the recording studio for the aptly titled Moonlighting, his sharp, intelligent tribute to Bobby Darin. Now he’s back with Lost In Your Arms (Atlantic 83443-2; 43:42), a tasteful homage to love and romance. His dusky voice, a happy marriage of Chet Baker and Tony Bennett, is bettered only by his impeccable taste. Shifting effortlessly from Coleman to Gershwin to Weill to Mercer, he only seems to lose his footing with an oddly dispassionate rendering of Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen’s “I’d Rather Leave While I’m in Love.” Quickly, however, he rights himself with a sterling trio: Rogers and Hammerstein’s ” I Have Dreamed,” Sondheim’s too rarely recorded “I Remember” and a bubbly rendition of Burke and Van Heusen’s “Imagination.” If Lost in Your Arms is indicative of the future quality of his studio efforts, let’s hope LeMel stays busy on both sides of the microphone.

Originally Published