No, Anne Kerry Ford does not include that old chestnut "Mack the Knife" on her lustrous new Kurt Weill project, "Weill" (Illyria Records). But Roger Kellaway, her arranger/keyboardist (and fellow Ojai resident) was recently earlobe-deep in the song as the music director for Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darrin tribute (Kellaway also worked with Darrin back in the day.)
"Weill" is a glorious and fascinating new celebration of one of the greatest 20th-century songwriters, whose songs have been eagerly adapted by jazz musicians who relish Weill's distinctive mix of sophistication, harmonic innovation, and directness of feeling. But Ford- unlike her husband Robben Ford, who plays on the record- comes from the cabaret world rather than jazz, per se, and her delivery is lucidly theatrical. She gives us a brief "My Ship" and polishes up less obvious jewels from the library, including "Tango Ballad", "Solomon Song", "Progress", "Surabaya Johnny" (with its' quote from "Mack the Knife") and the dreamily lyrical "Lost in the Stars".
hurt that Ford is backed by the WDR Big Band from Cologne, Germany, whose
colorful foundations blend jazz, art song, and pre-existential pop. 'Weill
is a dazzling addition to the Weill