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CD Review: Michelle LeBlanc

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Michelle LeBlanc
I Remember You
(2010, Trebb Records)

From the swinging opener “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” by Cole Porter to the placid “I Fall in Love Too Easily” by Sammy Kahn and Jule Styne, Putnam County singer Michelle LeBlanc, in her throaty-yet-warm warble, revisits emotions that rush forward on I Remember You. Just as she’s done in her history-themed concert series (Jazz: The American Story, Women in Jazz) and commissioned stage shows (ELLA!), I Remember You relies on the reliable—standards to set a clock by that reflect an Americana not too distant in the memories of many listeners.

The singer’s playlist features 11 tunes crafted by masters of verse that are filled with love and longing—Porter (“You Do Something to Me”), Frank Loesser (“Never Will I Marry”), and Johnny Mercer and Victor Schertzinger with the title tune. Within her storytelling, LeBlanc, pianist and arranger Tom Kohl, bassist Bill Crow, reedsman Joe Stelluti, drummer David Jones, and percussionist John Arrucci put the accent on taste and comfort. LeBlanc tempers “The Masquerade Is Over” (famously taken at a high-stepping pace by saxophonist Lou Donaldson on his 1958 LP Blues Walk) with these words: “Your eyes don’t shine like they used to shine / and the thrill is gone when your lips meet mine / I’m afraid the masquerade is over.” LeBlanc looks back on I Remember You to a period when gathering close to the radio was an eventful Saturday night family activity and our faith was tethered to our country. www.michelleleblanc.com.
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