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Pamela Luss: Your Eyes

To paraphrase Sammy Cahn, Luss is lovelier the second time around. Twelve months or so ago, Luss’ debut disc, There’s Something About You I Don’t Know, was marred by uninspired and occasionally overpowering arrangements and readings of a dozen standards that, though technically proficient, seemed to lack adequate heart. What a difference a year, and a fresh slew of arrangers (of the five who contributed to There’s Something, only one, Barney McAll, carries over to Luss’ sophomore effort) makes.

There’s a warmth and soft delicacy to Your Eyes that advances Luss from the middle of the contemporary jazz-cabaret vocal pack, placing her squarely behind frontrunner Jane Monheit. (Nor does it hurt to have sax masters Houston Person and Aaron Heick adding tremendous luster to four tracks each). Proving herself equally adept at capturing the exuberant romanticism of “Our Day Will Come,” “Wild Is Love” and Brenda Russell’s delightfully lustful “Get Here” as the contemplative ache of “Send In the Clowns” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” Luss has indeed found her heart. And, as demonstrated on quite possibly the finest-to-date interpretation of Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?,” she knows how to break it with excruciating tenderness.

Originally Published