Bob Levy: Connections

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Bob Levy


(Silver River Music)

September 27, 2015

Reviewed by John Amodeo for Cabaret Scenes

Bob-Levy-Connections-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Bob Levy’s new recording, Connections, with lyrics by Levy, and music by various composers, including himself, Levy convinces us that the craft of writing American standards is not only alive and well, but thriving. While remaining fresh and contemporary, this 20-song CD has a universal feel in its breezy nightclub sound and its lyrics that, simply put, find 20 lovely ways to say “I love you.”

Levy is nothing else if not a marvelous collaborator, working with six additional composers, seven pianists/arrangers, and nine vocalists on this recording. It is a testament to his musical vision that this recording maintains its cohesion, moving seamlessly from song to song.

His most fruitful teamwork shows with Harriet Goldberg, whose haunting descending harmonies in “The Moon, The Stars, The Sky” and lilting romantic tempo in “Nothing to Lose,” are real standouts. Cabaret stalwart Alex Rybeck provides great musical versatility with a bouncy “Looks Like They’re in Love,” and yet a lush arrangement for the reflective “He Remembers, She Remembers,” underscored by Jered Egan’s poignantly bowed bass and Joyce Breach’s honest delivery, making it one of the recording’s many highlights. Additional composers Ronny Whyte, Dennis Livingston, Jon Burr, Krisanthi Pappas and Levy himself add romance, seduction, shades of country, and a soupçon of the blues.

Dane Vannatter, frequent Levy collaborator, sings more than half the numbers, providing smooth, buttery vocals throughout, with an essence of Stevie Wonder in “The Moon, The Stars, The Sky,” and yet a Mel Tormé style in “Looks Like They’re in Love.” Cabaret veterans Judi Figel, Barbara Porteus, Krisanthi Pappas, and Matt Ray offer additional solid vocals, while Jinny Sagorin becomes a Disney princess on Livingston’s “My Never Ending Dream.”

But the top kudos goes to Levy, who paints many shades of love with his simple straightforward lyrics, that fall beautifully on these cushioning melodies. If you want a romantic night out on the town without ever leaving your house, this is your recording.

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John Amodeo

John Amodeo has been a contributing writer to Cabaret Scenes since 1998, has written cabaret articles for, was a cabaret journalist for Bay Windows (1999-2005), and then for Edge Publications (2005-present).  John has been producer, assistant producer, and host for several Boston-area cabaret galas over the past 25 years, and produced Brian De Lorenzo’s MACC-nominated recording “Found Treasures.” His liner notes grace several cabaret CDs. John holds degrees in landscape architecture from Cornell and Harvard Universities, and has been practicing landscape architecture in Boston for 35 years, where he is a partner in his firm. John was a founding member of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists (BACA), and served as BACA Vice President for 2 terms. He is happily married to his favorite cabaret artist Brian De Lorenzo.