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Mrs. Fun: The Best of Mrs. Fun

If Marlene Dietrich met Laurie Anderson, they might come up with something like the dramatic old-stage-style-meets-twisted-post-modern romps populating The Best of Mrs. Fun (Daemon Records DAM 19025; 51:30). A virtuoso duo displaying amazing energy and range, Mrs. Fun (pianist-vocalist Connie Grauer and drummer Kim Zick) wraps sharp humor and wigged-out joy around an aggressive, crunchy acid jazz center. The results are weird and unexpected-from the squealing horns yelping and railing through “Everybody Wants to Be Somebody Else’s Lover” to the ultra-dramatic chorus vocals of the comic tango “Ennui.” “Cecil’s Waterfowl Ranch” builds near-menacing dynamics through piping, braying sax work and fusion timing, and “Love You Loud” adds piano-rag elements to its freewheeling funk. Add clever, spoken-word commentary and well-placed guest appearances to this completely live tour de force (including Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers adding goofy background vocals to the knuckleball “Gossip”) and you have one strange and wonderful musical trip.

Originally Published