Deborah Shulman's previous recording 2 for the road was, in my opinion, one of the finest vocal albums of 2007. Now, she's back with another one called My Heart's in the Wind and like the first it's a truly great one. This is a worthy companion to the first release. Well done Deborah!
Jacques Emond, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Deborah . . . I've loved your singing ever since those first notes of '2 for the road' . . . This new CD does not disappoint. The sweet flow of tunes bathes me in a wash of lush romantic feelings.
Mitchell Mendys, WKNH
“I just reviewed your CD and it is a truly great listen. It will get a lot of air play on Jazz 88. You are SMOKING.”
- J. Otis Williams, KSDS Jazz 88.3 FM, San Diego
- Tony Cabanellas, KDHX 88.1 FM, St. Louis, Missouri
TWO FOR THE ROAD
Silky, subtle, sophisticated and shimmering, Deborah Shulman is pure pleasure to hear if you love a love song sung with an adult been-there, done-that sensibility. She can explore a sad lyric without overdoing the sorrow or skimping on the pure musicality. Two for the Road is a thoroughly classy affair with mostly downbeat material that focuses on self-analysis and self-awareness rather than self-pity. With several optimistic numbers, too, it's all well sung with elegance and a depth of feeling. The liner notes are as unguarded and unpretentious as the singing: she states that the arc of the repertoire chosen reflects her reactions to a difficult divorce and her recovery, followed by a new love.
Some theatre and jazz fans will recognize the pianist/ arranger: Terry Trotter who made a series of albums that are instrumental jazz versions of Sondheim scores and one of The Fantasticks, among others. He's joined by Tom Warrington on bass, Joe La Barbara on drums and guitarist Larry Koonse, who does some especially evocative playing. Terry Trotter's work here is key to the album's success: a sensitive accompanist and arranger, he and Deborah work together magnificently to tell the stories of the songs, often coming off as little character studies. They find surprising fragility and depth in what might be tossed off as just a bit of easy fun in I Like You, You're Nice, (Blossom Dearie/ Linda Alpert). As a singer, Deborah is very much an actress who makes the most of the words but is sure-footed musically and has a basic prettiness to her tone that she rarely sacrifices for the sake of dramatic impact. The songs are strung out at length, never rushed, but the underlying melodic line and story are never lost in the leisure. They don't feel long, even the six-minute Where Do You Start as the Johnny Mandel melody is treated with respect while the Marilyn and Alan Bergman lyric is sung haltingly, as if she is discovering the thoughts as they tumble out in painful step-by-step realization. It becomes a three-act play.
The less interesting and successful tracks are a kind of easygoing take on Rodgers and Hart's I Wish I Were in Love Again absent of its built-in cute sarcasm, and a kind of lightly swinging The Boy Next Door with an odd arrangement that only gets to its wistful heart at the end. And only The Meaning of the Blues seems mired in glumville (OK, I know it's the blues, but it just isn't as intriguing as the others that seem to have more going on) and it has some less satisfying low notes. But beginning with the album's rich romantic embrace of its Mancini/Mercer title song to its closer, Some Other Time from On the Town, this is an album with so many impressive, detailed moments.
Deborah has an interesting background: she teaches voice, has performed in musical theatre (like Cats in California), has performed with groups, a duo (with Ann Jillian), and solo, produces shows and has written libretti for four children's operas. And she's just finished a second album that should be on its way soon: I can't wait. She's a gem. After Two for the Road, it'll be great to have one more for the road.
And now it's time for me to hit the road.
- Rob Lester
“Shulman continues to melt listeners’ hearts on her latest release. With a carefully crafted yet delicate delivery, Shulman extracts every ounce out of a melody. Her accompaniment on this session is first rate. Her selection of songs is impeccable, and well suited to her style of singing.
Frank Loesser’s timeless classic, “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year” is performed with passion and sensitivity. Pay close attention to Shulman’s phrasing and you will notice that she is working inside the melody, enjoying every moment along the way. Another note of interest is her ability to control the lyric without overextending. Trotter’s piano is a joy to the ear and the soul. He follows Shulman’s voice like a gentle breeze on a sunny day.
Another tune performed with grace and a candid delivery is “Something Cool.” Trotter continues to impress with his ever so gentle touch. Balance is the key to success here. Shulman and Trotter demonstrate how to achieve this without disturbing the natural ebb and flow.
One of the smoothest drummers in jazz is featured on “I Wish I Were In Love Again.” La Barbara’s brushwork is exquisite and timely. Shulman’s nicely rounded lyric and La Barbara’s response gel in a most satisfying manner. Koonse introduces a tender sounding guitar before the group swings for the rest of the piece.
After listening to Sinatra’s version for so many years, it was refreshing to hear a new take on a great tune. With a beautiful melody and a heart-on-your-sleeve lyric, Shulman delivers in spades. Some fine string work from Koonse.
There are so many enjoyable moments on this recording. For aspiring vocalists, “2 for the road” serves as a recording deserving repeated listening. Control, passion, fun and a desire to respect the melody and the lyric are just a few descriptive words describing this finely crafted outing.”
- Randy McElligott, eJazzNews