by Jeff Becker
Vocalist Pam Brennan has created a sparkling Great American Songbook album entitled Moonglow. Brimming with some of the most well-known standards, she executes them with a laidback approach that sings with beauty.
A lasting appeal of GAS tunes is the songwriting, the writers had such a grasp of longevity when writing these tunes. Even today, countless releases feature these time-tested tunes. Brennan is not trying to reinvent the wheel on this album, she respectfully honors the composer’s original intent with revere and beauty.
“Old Devil Moon” is a popular song composed by Burton Lane, with lyrics by Yip Harburg for the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow. It was introduced by Ella Logan and Donald Richards in the Broadway show. In the 1968 film version, the song was performed by Don Francks and Petula Clark. Brennan has a matter of fact, savoir faire about her approach. Her vocal style is infectious and engaging. Guitarist Ron Affif is splendid on this track, his clean articulate lines blend perfectly with Brennan’s voice, his supple support and buoyant lines eloquently support Brennan’s beautifully delicate voice.
I have always been partial to “Let’s Get Lost,” written by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The song was first performed in 1943 by Mary Martin and was included in the 1943 film Happy Go Lucky. For me its always been the Chet Baker version that gets me. Brennan’s version is equally tranquil. Pianist Richie Iacona provides a solid accompaniment and colorization of the melody.
What is most striking about Brennan’s voice is not the acrobatics that is heard on so many albums these days; but the respectful refinement and the excitement and joy you can hear in her voice singing these tunes. You can tell she thoroughly enjoys the standards, which was very appealing to me. Not just another vocalist interpreting the standards as a vanity project, Brennan was like a well fitted glove of yesteryear and her band of compadres fit the mood quite nicely.