Lainie Cooke, “It's Always You”
Posted by: editoron Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 10:40 AM
By: Edward Blanco
Better late than never, is a phrase everyone is familiar with but takes on a special meaning for vocalist Lainie Cooke, a remarkable singer who has waited more than most for the opportunity to engage her first love of song. With “It's Always You,” her sophomore recording, Cooke presents a mellow twelve-track set of wonderful standards bathed in new light and well accompanied by a finesse cast of players. No longer a youngster, this mature seasoned veteran of the arts, possesses powerful vocals allowing her to travel effortlessly from fiery passages to soothing cool terrain in graceful style.
She actually began singing very early in life, from age six to fronting a big big band at the tender age of fourteen, this Minneapolis-born songbird had much promise when life managed to get in the way. After an education and working as an actress and voice over artist for 30 years, Cooke clawed her way back from obscurity singing in night clubs and in cabarets from New York to LA culminating with her 2002 debut “Here's To Life” at the age of sixty. Now, just a tad older but finer, Cooke provides a superb performance interpreting old standards like Ray Noble's “The Very Thought of You,” Michel Legrand's “I Will Wait For You,” and Cole Porter's classic “After You” with tenderness.
Of course there are other songs that deserve meaningful attention beginning with the opener “It's Always You,” and continue with the oft recorded “Too Close For Comfort,” and lesser known scores like “Tuesdays In Chinatown,” and “Answer Me” just to name a few. Not to be overlooked here is the personnel that provide the backup instrumentals which include none other than the great Joel Frahm on the reeds, Ted Firth on piano, Roland Barber on trombone and rounding out the rhythm section are guitarist Marvin Horne, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Matt Wilson—all providing superb musical support.
No question about this one folks, Lainie Cooke has a winner on her hands with “It's Always You,” ably demonstrating that sometimes the wait is well worth it—considering the quality of the music and her unique vocal delivery—it certainly was.