CD Review: I FALL IN LOVE TOO EASILY (Katherine McPhee on BMG)

by Tony Frankel on December 7, 2017

in CD-DVD

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TAKING IT MCPHEEASY

It took a few spins of Katharine McPhee’s standard-drenched new CD to realize that not all interpretations of the Great American Songbook have to strike you over the head with originality and flair. Sitting in the producer’s chair is the great Don Was, who ensured that this languorous, lush, piano-lounge set puts you at a two-top table right in front of this singer, also known for both her acting and amazing run on American Idol (this is her fifth full-length album).

The gentle arrangements — whether small combo (“All the Way,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” and the title track) or with added strings (“I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Who Can I Turn To?” [which features pianist Alan Pasqua, and the great drummer Peter Erskine]) — this smoky starry-eyed subtle spin is perfect for a soothing soul massage or a musical Sominex to help you sail into slumber. And this is a compliment, as some of my favorite CDs of all time, such as The Intimate Ella, can also do that. McPhee’s voice here is sultry, soft, and slender with an intoxicating twittering vibrato finish.

It’s also lovely when a tune such as “Night and Day” is taken from its usual rhythmic beguine and placed in the ultra-romantic category, while Sondheim’s “Sooner or Later” (from the film Dick Tracy) gets a bouncy be-bop jazz waltz instead of the broad showtune treatment. On the timeless Lerner & Loewe song, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” there’s a husky Ricki Lee Jones Pop Pop (1991) quality that suits the song beautifully (coincidentally, Pop Pop was produced by Don Was’s bandmate David Was).

Also special is the take on Bernard Ighner’s wistful gem, “Everything Must Change,” which may well be the theme song of our modern world. Ighner, who sang his tune with honeyed vocals on Quincy Jones’s 1974 transitional jazz CD, Body Heat, died just four months ago. McPhee’s emotional vulnerability adds a special longing to this tribute.

I Fall in Love Too Easily
Katherine McPhee
BMG
CD | 10 tracks | 41:23
released November 17, 2017
available at Amazon and iTunes

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