Kevin Dozier: A New York Romance

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Kevin Dozier

A New York Romance

Live! from the Metropolitan Room

(Brannock Productions)

September 26, 2016

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

kevin-dozier-cabaret-scenes-magazine_212Love romantic intimacy expressed in in-person cabaret terms? The live A New York Romance is right up your cozy alley. Quintessential cabaret communicator Kevin Dozier connects with audiences AND lyrics, benefiting melodies his voice blesses and caresses.
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Dozier disc devotees will cheer with the vociferously responsive audience on this captivating captured concert—but may also be frustrated: Half the material appeared on studio CDs in similar renditions.  Seven of the 15 items on 2013’s Love’s Never Lost are found; a medley combines “Bless Your Heart” from his Christmas mini-album with “On My Way to You” from his debut disc (that included “Always,” in a different despairing pairing than one repeated here, incrementally increasing the pain of “Time Heals Everything”). Sure, we expect singers’ live performances to offer reprises—voluminously recorded artists (Streisand, Sinatra, Minnelli) rack up track after track of repeat attack on hits—but it’s more vexing on a fourth release.
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But there’s plentiful good news: No returning ballad sounds at all tired, uninspired, or uninvolved, new-to-disc titles SWING, showing welcome, effective atypical sides to oft-delicate Dozier: hearty, robust, loose.

Playful humor appears when words re-set to a mischievously mismatched melody —melodramatic, tragic Les Misérables’ melodramatic “On My Own” co-opted for the theme song of TV’s bubbly but banal Brady Bunch, sung with mock earnestness—LOL!. The oldie “The Best Things in Life Are Free” presents another accomplishment: avoiding potentially prodigious pitfalls of coming off cornball; it emerges sincere and vivacious, helped by Tedd Firth’s feisty arrangement.  

Dozier borrows a segment of a Firth/Marilyn Maye-designed (for her) mega-medley, with additional words she penned to put in “Put on a Happy Face,” providing more zest. They also designed a smash mash-up of NYC-themed songs. Other arrangement duties are in the superbly capable hands of pianist/Musical Director Alex Rybeck, leading bassist Jered Egan, drummer John Redsecker, and glorious guitarist Sean Harkness.

Applause deserved throughout.

Rob Lester

2015 is native New Yorker Rob Lester's eighth year as contributing writer, beginning by reviewing a salute to Frank Sinatra, whose recordings have played on his personal soundtrack since the womb. (His Cabaret Scenes Foundation member mom started him with her favorite; like his dad, he became an uber-avid record collector/ fan of the Great American Songbook's great singers and writers.) Soon, he was attending shows, seeking out up-and-comers and already-came-ups, still reading and listening voraciously. He also writes for and, has been cabaret-centric as awards judge, panel member/co-host, and produces benefit/tribute shows, including one for us.