Friday, August 04, 2006

Disc o' the Day

What follows is the text of my friend Charles Cochran's new page at CDBaby :

Here is Fred Astaire on the subject of singer-pianist Charles Cochran in 1963:

“I think one of the main reasons for Charlie Cochran's success is his devotion to his art. It seems that he takes hold of a song as if he owns it... its story and lyrics as well as its musical values. Charlie is instinctively a young man of good taste and good manners. He works because he enjoys it. He really loves to sing and in order to do so to his personal satisfaction, he travels extensively, appearing in night clubs at various ends of this country and abroad. He has acquired a large following since his entry into the professional ranks about 5 years ago.

For some time now, I have admired the Cochran style and was extremely pleased when we were able to sign him for AVA Records.

Cochran is particular and decisive about his choice of song material. He has chosen most of the numbers in this album because he can hardly resist singing them. I hope people will buy it for the same reason.”

And now flash forward to 2005 and Rex Reed in the New York Observer:
“With so much angst, the best anti-depressant is music. Charles Cochran, an esteemed pianist and saloon singer who used to be a staple on the Manhattan club scene when the word “cabaret” only existed in the basements of Berlin, is back in circulation at Danny’s on West 46th Street, where he is holding court every Sunday and Monday night through May. He takes you back to the sublimely balmy midnight hours when chic song stylists peppered and salted intimate watering troughs all over town, and taxis didn’t cost half the rent to get you there. Retirement in Palm Beach hasn’t cost him any I.Q. points. His songs are stylish and sophisticated, and so is he.

Up-tempo tunes are usually fillers inserted by performers who fear their audiences will grow drowsy from too many ballads. Mr. Cochran doesn’t waste your time: His love songs are treasures . . .When he picks up the pace, it’s with obscure gems like Irving Berlin’s “Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun” and Cy Coleman’s “On the Other Side of the Tracks.” The stories he tells are the reminiscences of days when you could rent a penthouse with a grand piano for $350 a month. The names he drops are Laurette Taylor, Mabel Mercer and Hedy Lamarr. He brings tears to the most jaded eyes. He makes you want to live the lyrics. . . Put Charles Cochran on your calendar, and learn something.”

In between, in 1983, here’s what the great Jeri Southern had to say about Cochran:

“Charles Cochran sings with a purity and straightforwardness that are rarely heard these days, always paying attention to the lyric and observing its most subtle meanings and nuances.

His impeccable musicianship is clearly apparent in his intonation, phrasing, time, and control. The voice is gorgeous (and he uses it beautifully), but he never sacrifices the lyrical interpretation to make us aware of it---a temptation to any singer of lesser taste and discernment.
In short, I think Charles is a great artist and best of all, I guess, is that every time I hear him sing I feel that it’s just for me---I think you’ll feel that way too.”

This is Cochran’s sixth album in as many decades. It just might be his best!

“. . .a first-rate repertoire of out-of-the way show tunes, intimate jazz, and ballads that only a born-and-bred New York song

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