Kurt Weill’s music is often considered an “acquired” taste but that’s not exactly right. Probably, Weill’s unique straddling of American and European styles, his merging of operatic, theatrical and popular genres and his sometimes-catchy and sometimes-melodramatic melodies are more likely to immediately attract or repel. If you don’t find his music immediately fascinating, it’s unlikely you’ll spend enough time with it to acquire the requisite point of view to appreciate it.
For people who connect with Weill, this new celebration of his work by cabaret singer Anne Kerry Ford should be bliss. Kerry offers 15 Weill songs, mostly from his later years in America, and delivers them with warmth, depth and just a twinkle of humor that helps brighten Weill’s imposing intellectuality.
She gets immeasurable help on this live recording from the WDR Big Band, a German outfit that delivers an old-school Vegas punch to such numbers as the glorious opener, “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.” Other assistance comes from arranger/pianist Roger Kellaway, who adds gorgeous touches to “My Ship”, and from jazz guitarist Robben Ford (formerly of L.A. Express, and currently the husband if Anne Jerry Ford) who punctuates “Solomon Song” with some tasty acoustic touches.
Ford’s voice is perfect for the material, with a wide tonal and emotional range and just enough dramatic warble to push the songs, but enough restraint to keep them form falling overboard. Weill’s fans have cause to rejoice over this CD that packs some new punch into old songs. People who don’t care for Weill probably find their opinions changed, but that’s not Ford’s fault. She delivers a heartfelt performance, so meticulous it’s easy to forget that this is a live album.

Marty Clear,
Sarasota Herald Tribune