By Kenneth Jones
29 Jan 2013
PS Classics is in a Kern mood lately. On Dec. 11, 2012, it released a two-disc recording of a Kern revue, The Land Where the Good Songs Go, which also features Luker (with five other performers). "I Got Love: Songs of Jerome Kern," boasting the work of music director and orchestrator Joseph Thalken, is a 14-track album that includes:
1. Once in a Blue Moon
2. I Got Love
3. Bill / Can't Help Lovin' That Man
4. Not You
5. Saturday Night
6. Can't Help Singing
7. My Husband's First Wife
8. Why Was I Born?
9. The Folks Who Live on the Hill
10. And I Am All Alone
11. I'll Be Hard to Handle
12. I'm Old Fashioned
13. The Song Is You
14. April Fooled Me
Luker is a three-time Tony Award nominee — as Best Actress in a Musical for Kern and Hammerstein's Show Boat (1995) and The Music Man (2000), and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Mary Poppins, in which she played Mrs. Banks.
For more about Luker, visit RebeccaLuker.com.
Drawing from her July 2012 performances at the midtown nightclub 54 Below, Luker, music director Joseph Thalken, bass player Dick Sarpola, and additional musicians assembled in a New York studio on Nov. 7-8. The disc will be produced by PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker.
As previously reported, the recording covers three decades of Kern songs. Luker will be singing three Kern songs that she did not perform at 54 Below in summer 2012.
Of the Luker solo disc, Krasker told Playbill.com, "This whole year has been about seeing things or hearing things and going, 'This has to be recorded.' Is there a better combination than Rebecca Luker and Jerome Kern? When she soars on things like 'The Song Is You' and 'Can't Help Singing,' it's breathtaking. And what she and Joe Thalken did to the material, in terms of keeping it classy and elegant, yet making it seem deeply personal, is just astounding. We'll be adding some additional instruments where it seems necessary or appropriate, but keeping it as intimate as it was live."
In July, Luker told Playbill.com, "When I started putting this concert together, I wasn't as knowledgeable as I thought I was about Kern. I've since learned that his range over a 30-year period — from the early, early days at the Princess Theatre until when he died — is just astounding. The range of his styles and what he wrote! I think I fit in because I'm kind of a versatile singer."
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PHOTO ARCHIVE: Rebecca Luker on the Musical Stage