Cynthia Crane: Cynthia Crane Loves Sinatra

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Cynthia Crane

Cynthia Crane Loves Sinatra


January 31, 2016

Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes

Cynthia-Crane-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212There’s not much left to be said about Frank Sinatra following his centennial year. This collection of songs, reflecting the infamous dark side of Sinatra’s career, shows Cynthia Crane as a mature, stylish singer, with a dash of salt, who has mastered the art of the smoky saloon singer at last call. While not in Sinatra’s league, she shines on these dirges with a flair that is as savvy as it is rare. She knows this territory. From the first cut, the rarely heard “When No One Cares” in medley with “Only the Lonely” (both by Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen) right through to another rarity, “Hey Look, No Crying” (Susan Birkhead/Jule Styne), she captures the emptiness and sadness that solidified the Sinatra legend as a definitive blues-in-the-night crooner.

Crane rises to the occasion with class. Of course, she happens to have surrounded herself with some of the most distinguished musicians on the jazz circuit today. It’s all led by Mike Renzi for starters. Songs like “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” (Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen), “All or Nothing at All” (Jack Lawrence/Arthur Altman) and “Drinking Again” (Mercer/Doris Tauber) have a flavored sentiment that is right out of some late-night gin mill in the ’40s or ’50s. Crane and her collaborators have captured that essence on this disc. That is the reason this CD matters. The eloquent arrangements by Renzi fused with such quality musicians simply can’t miss.

Crane, who has been on the club scene for decades, has done a worthy job of paying tribute to the man regarded as the finest pop singer of the last century. As she whispers on a quiet reading of “It’s Easy to Remember” (Rodgers & Hart): “… it’s easy to remember and so hard to forget…” sung backed by Renzi’s supple piano that captivates, the message is clear. These simple words sum up this moody and respectful album ripe with great songs, great musicians, and a terrific, bluesy stylist who understands what she’s singing about. It all captures an era we won’t see again. For that, Cynthia Crane deserves a lot of praise.

The other musicians are Jay Leonhart (bass), Steve LaSpina (bass), Grady Tate (drums), Ronny Zito (drums), Jay Berliner (guitar), Glen Drewes (trumpet), Houston Person (tenor sax), Bill Easley (tenor sax) and Wayne André (trombone).

John Hoglund

For over 30 years, John Hoglund has been a respected entertainment writer covering cabaret, jazz, theater and recordings. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets including the Bistro Bits column for Back Stage. John moderated seminars and forums for the International Cabaret Conference At Yale. He produced many celebrity fundraisers in NYC including one of the first benefits after 9/11: “HeartSong:The Heroes' Concert” at The Bottom Line featuring 36 major stars. He co-produced “HeartSong2: The Heroes' Concert” for Katrina victims at Symphony Space and “Miracle On 35th Street” with a star-studded lineup. Other fund raising efforts include the first benefits for Broadway Cares and God's Love, We Deliver. John served on the Board of Directors of MAC for 12 years. He is well known for championing new and rising talents.