Judy Kuhn's All This Happiness is Stirring and Evocative

Categories: Music

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Courtesy of PS Classics.
Cover art for Judy Kuhn's All This Happiness.
Judy Kuhn has been enchanting audiences since her Broadway debut in 1985, when she was a member of the Original Broadway Cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In 1987 she was cast as Cosette in the Broadway premiere of the worldwide sensation Les Misérables, a role she reprised for the 1995 Dream Cast Concert. Other notable performances include her turns as Florence in the Original Broadway Cast of Chess, Amalia in the 1993 Broadway Revival of She Loves Me, Betty Schaefer in the 1994 U.S. Premiere production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, Fosca in both the 2002 Kennedy Center and the 2013 Classic Stage Company productions of PASSION, and voicing the singing voice of Pocahontas in Disney's 33rd animated feature film Pocahontas.

On All This Happiness, Kuhn invites listeners on a jazzy journey through hand-selected songs that easily entertain, many of which she has grown up with. The pared down arrangements by Dan Lipton and Damien Bassman masterfully accentuate and draw attention to Kuhn's exquisite soprano voice. Lipton and Bassman deftly give her leeway to let her spirited renditions of these familiar and lauded tunes sparkle with charisma and a seductively sultry power and flourish.

Kuhn opens the album with an evocative and mesmerizing rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Help Me" that expertly captures the attention of listeners and prepares them for the gorgeous experience the album contains. She highlight's Stephen Sondheim with a pairing of "Happiness" from PASSION and "In Buddy's Eyes" from FOLLIES. Other standouts on the disc include her hauntingly bewitching version of Tom Waits's "Temptation," her sumptuous and passionate version of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love," and a charmingly toe-tapping rendition of Laura Nyro's "Goodbye Joe."

The delightfully sparse arrangements limit the supporting band to only three musicians--Bassman on drums and percussion, Lipton on piano, and Peter Sachon on acoustic and electric cello. Kuhn couldn't have asked for a better band. They add an attractive layer of sparkling resonance behind her grand vocals, but always defer to her and pristinely highlight her impressive talents.

Each of the tracks on Kuhn's All This Happiness is imbued with astounding grace and enthralling brilliance. From wistfully thrilling jazz numbers to exciting and dramatic ballads, Kuhn's All This Happiness is sure to captivate listeners. The only complaint I have is that it simply isn't long enough, clocking in at a little over a 40 minutes.

Kuhn's All This Happiness was released on June 4. It can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold.


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