The Algonquin in New York, with pianist Shelly Berg and bassist Jay Leonhart, as seen in The New York Times and the The New York Sun.
A stunning recording that once again trumps the other excellent albums she has made.
— Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide
With Ages, Lorraine Feather—whether purposely or by chance—has produced her masterpiece to date.
— Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare
A wonderful storyteller in jazz.
—John Henry, Audiophile Audition
» Read all recent Ages quotes [pdf]
[Note: This was an "extended analysis"; the review in complete form is on their website.]
By its very title, Language, from singer and lyricist Lorraine Feather, implies that Feather and company believe that they have the musical and linguistic chops to take on such a sophisticated concept for our entertainment. So it's good to find that Feather is a heavyweight who—with a championship caliber crew in her corner—delivers a resounding KO… From the stop-and-pulse, streetbeat start of “Traffic and Weather,” Feather and her band demonstrate that they're going for something unique. Language is a marvelous mix of sharp, thoughtful verbiage, edgy melodies, quirky rhythms and superior musicianship...
This is honest stuff—like great language always is, whether it be written, read, spoken or sung. With the talent on board and the tools with which to work, it must have been an absolute hoot to produce and record. Also, a word about the production values here: outstanding. The sound balance of the recording is near perfection…a disc to enjoy and reach for repeatedly. It will make you think, feel and smile-about language, life, love and, oh yes, another “L.”
- Nicholas F. Mondello
As the product of a British father and a Minnesotan mother, it seems entirely apropos that
Lorraine Feather's sound suggests the scrubbed, all-American beauty of Ann Hampton Callaway
mixed with the dry playfulness of Millicent Martin. Nor is it any surprise she is the daughter of
lyricist and critic Leonard, one of the all-time sharpest jazz writers, for Lorraine is the equal of not
just her esteemed papa but also of such top-drawer wordsmiths as Bob Dorough and Dave
Frishberg. Like such masters, she is particularly skilled at observational humor derived from the
mundane aspects of everyday life.
She can construct fun-filled tunes from such familiar annoyances as a set of lost keys ("Where Are
My Keys?"), the droning repetitiveness of radio reports ("Traffic and Weather," featuring a special
guest-vocal appearance by Tierney Sutton) or the mind-numbing frustration of customer service
call centers ("We Appreciate Your Patience"). She can simultaneously salute and skewer two show
business extremes with parallel portraits of an eager wannabe ("Waiting Tables," wherein
Manhattan Transfer mates Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne contribute to the fun) and a
supercilious film star bemoaning the burden of fortune and fame ("A Household Name"). She can
craft an appropriately peppy yet noirish salute to pop culture icon Kinsey Millhone, the heroine of
Sue Grafton's alphabetical series of bestselling detective novels, then address all of contemporary
society's ills in sports lingo ("Hit the Ground Runnin'"). But Feather's whip-smart skills aren't
limited to sophisticated witticisms, as here evidenced by a sweet, delicate homage to Billy Strayhorn
("In Flower") and a rosy rendering of Yuletide Manhattan ("I Love New York at Christmas") that
is actually a heart-wrenching snapshot of a crumbling relationship.
- Christopher Loudon
All Music Guide
Over her mere seven-album discography, Lorraine Feather has carved out a fulfilling career as a jazz singer far outdistancing many one-shots, far less talented but successful pop-jazz vocalists, and wannabes. Her talent as a lyricist of wit, sarcasm, and keen observations of the American human condition is her true strength, and not always as acknowledged as her verbal chops and inventiveness. This may very well be Lorraine Feather's best effort, certainly the one where collaboration is the key, and statements on our disposable, technology-driven, time-consuming society had to be made. Bravo Lorraine, and hang in there!
- Michael G. Nastos
All About Jazz
Here's the vocal jazz record you've been looking for. Singer Lorraine Feather, influenced in style, delivery and songwriting talents by the likes of Jon Hendricks and Dave Frishberg, has put out Language, a perfect blend of music and moxie. Feather's vocal alacrity is only matched by her quick-witted composing talents, which she combines with Russell Ferrante (Yellowjackets) and Oscar Peterson-inspired pianist Shelly Berg, to create some of the most charming songs this side of Gershwin. Backed by a DNA - imbedded swing band including guitarist Grant Geissman, Berg or Ferrante on piano, bassist Michael Valerio, and drummer Gregg Field, Feather sings wry and dry tunes, writing about modern times with the deep insight usually associated with P. J. O'Rourke... Find Language, grab it, and love it!
- George Harris
Lorraine Feather's youthful voice highlights this clever album. The lyrics are like shaking hands with a smile. The words fly by faster than a knife fight in a phone booth. Feather is a lyricist that defines the word hip... Lorraine Feather has an interesting vocal quality. The texture of her voice is crystal clear and although the words fly by swiftly, each is articulated with cool perfection. Feather is marked by wit and ingenuity in her quirky delivery, which only adds to the magic of the album.
- John Gilbert
Lorraine Feather paints imaginative word pictures that are rhythmically complex yet as clear as her voice. She is witty, wry and poignant, often in a single song, with incisive observations that range from the petty annoyances of daily life-the commute, lost keys and that disembodied "We appreciate your patience" telephone voice-to attitudes and relationships... Feather's musical partners on these and other compositions include Shelly Berg, Russell Ferrante and Bill Elliott. Visiting vocalists Tierney Sutton, Cheryl Bentyne and Janis Siegel add to the pleasure...Lorraine Feather's CDs appear less frequently than I would like as she has many irons in the fire. They are well worth the wait.
- Bill Falconer
[Five Stars] Don’t know how I missed out on Lorraine Feather until now. She’s had numerous CDs and is a super lyrics writer in the tradition of Dave Frishberg, writing about little everyday life experiences—often in acerbic and witty ways—that don’t usually find their way into lyrics... “We Appreciate Your Patience” resonated with me like mad; it’s a parody of the recorded phone announcements you’re forced to listen to while being put on hold forever. Feather is truly a fresh voice with some very original lyric ideas.
- John Henry
Jazz royalty like Feather gets a pass if she wants it, but she never takes us up on it, never mulligans and always delivers the goods. Growing up in jazz and not hitting us over the head about it, she free wheels her songs and lyrics into a wonderful collection that hipsters can't help but fall in love with. A sassy collection...this is one for the fans, especially those that know which end is up. You left leaning jazzbos have something to savor here!
The practicality and comedy of Lorraine Feather really comes through on Language, an album that should get some attention from the suburban set for its relevant lyrics and enjoyable melodies. The album is uncomplicated without being crude, chic without being showy, and comical without being obnoxious. Feather's vocals are on point, her pitch is crystalline, and her poetic delivery is second to none. Language is another great jazz vocal recording from a thrilling and exceptional lyrical performer.
Lorraine Feather is a unique singer, a deft lyricist especially good at exploring the humor in occasions, situations and institutions. “Hit the Ground Runnin’” is a lyric that one might expect from Dave Frishberg, one where Feather ties together a string of sports clichés to wonderful effect. Shelly Berg, who plays simply terrific piano on the majority of the tracks, provided most of the arrangements... this is a perfect disc to put on when you need an intelligent pick-me-up.
- Joe Lang
A chip off the old block, Feather is the daughter of critic/producer Leonard Feather. She's at ease within her musical skin, singing her deceptively light, fresh lyrics to swing era chestnuts with delicacy, fluency and sly fun. Tongue-in-cheek? You betcha, but deliciously savvy. Listen to Feather tell charming, hilarious tales as tiny tots in pink tutus tiptoe at ballet school ("Remembering to Breathe"). She also brags about her subway skills, or recalls in tango a fleeting seaside romance. Meticulous charts and Feather's pinpoint execution nudge these gems beyond novelty, urging later listenings.
Jazz singer-lyricist Lorraine Feather's adept, swinging singing (except for the occasional slow tune, which she sings with a touching tenderness) and very clever, mind-enlivening lyrics, bring joy to the listener of this '30s/'40s retro-style album. Daughter of the famed jazz writer Leonard Feather and his singer wife Jane, and the goddaughter of none other than Billie Holiday, Ms. Feather may have inherited a little something by heredity or osmosis, but if so, she certainly ran with it. Dooji Wooji, a mixture of co-written originals and four Duke Ellington tunes revamped with Feather's engaging lyrics, is a treat the whole way through. Her "Calistoga Bay" is a catchy, fun reworking of Ellington's "Harlem Air Shaft." "Remembering to Breathe" is a subtle, sensitive life-lesson song presented as a story about student ballet dancers. "Happy You Were Here" is a lovely ballad that could just as easily have been written for a beloved dead parent as for a lost love: "Happy you were here to change my days/Delight me with your little ways/Your soulful eyes/Wouldn't let me pass you by."
One of the pleasant developments on the scene in recent years has been the work of Lorraine Feather as a nimble lyricist, and a fine interpreter of the songs that she has created. Most of her efforts have been devoted to writing lyrics for existing instrumental pieces, mostly by established jazz icons like Duke Ellington and Fats Waller. On "Dooji Wooji" (Sanctuary - 34101) Feather applies her talents as a wordsmith to 12 tunes, including four from the world of Ellingtonia. Bill Elliott, Eddie Arkin, Russell Ferrante and Shelly Berg penned the other selections. The Ellington connection results in "Calistoga Bay ("Harlem Airshaft"), "Sweet Honolulu" ("Dooji Wooji"), "Indiana Lana" ("Jubilee Stomp") and "Tryin' to Get Over"("Doin' the Voom Voom"). Feather is in full command of her material, both as a lyricist and a performer. This album says play me and play me again.
There are brilliant lyricists who shouldn't be allowed to sing. Then there's Lorraine Feather. She's special. Often wry, sometimes nostalgic, always perceptive, with a delivery as clear as a bell.
Feather is in good company. Most of the arrangements are by Bill Elliott. Pianist Shelly Berg anchors the accompaniment which ranges from solo piano and small swing groups to big band. "Dooji Wooji," like its predecessor, "Such Sweet Thunder," pays homage to Duke as Feather tailors her songs to a handful of Ellington melodies...the CD also includes several collaborations with contemporary artists, including Russell Ferrante and Eddie Arkin. Imaginative! Who else would create "Cicada Time?" The gem is "Remembering to Breathe." Set to a simple tune by Elliott, the lyrics picture a children's ballet class and provide life advice for us all.
It's an understatement to say Billie Jane Lee Lorraine Feather grew up with music. Contributors to her name include her godmother (Billie Holiday), her mother (Jane, a New York band singer), and Jane's one-time roommate (Peggy Lee). Oh, yeah, her father, Leonard, wrote The Encyclopedia of Jazz, and the Modern Jazz Quartet's John Lewis was her first piano teacher.
Vocalist Feather provides words for the dozen tunes presented here, including four Duke Ellington compositions...on a first read of the intricate, intelligent lyrics, it's hard to imagine they can be sung. But Feather swings through them like an instrumentalist, her delivery easy but never facile. She may know the way to Brooklyn, as one of her songs proclaims, but she also knows the way to the heart of a song...on Dooji Wooji, Lorraine Feather's voice, lyrics and original point of view measure up to her roots.
All About Jazz
Lorraine Feather's latest CD stands out from the swarm of new releases by singers because of her captivating, swinging vocals and witty lyrics, but there's a lot more to her appeal. Dooji Wooji blends many of her musical interests, starting with several instrumentals by Duke Ellington for which she wrote lyrics. These songs (composed between 1928 and 1939) were intended for an earlier release, but held up for reasons beyond her control. "Calistoga Bay" is based upon the maestro's "Harlem Air Shaft" and swings like mad, with Feather backed by a big band arranged by Bill Elliott, long time collaborator Shelly Berg on piano and a fine solo by trumpeter Willie Murillo. Feather recasts "Dooji Wooji" as the sensuous, bluesy "Sweet Honolulu," with Berg playing a steady boogie-woogie vamp and Grant Geissman's effective lap steel guitar blending with the brass and reeds of the octet.
But Feather is hardly one to concentrate exclusively on oldies. Her current collaborators know a thing or two about putting together memorable melodies that compliment her lyrics...I've already found myself returning to Lorraine Feather's Dooji Wooji on many occasions. The combination of Feather's enchanting vocals, her intelligent, entertaining lyrics and the contributions of her arrangers and musicians make Dooji Wooji not only a shoo-in for my top ten list for 2005, but also a CD that will easily stand the test of time.
Ever since the 2001 release of her Fats Waller-themed New York City Drag, Lorraine Feather has remained the traffic cop at the intersection of uninhibited inspiration and joyous musical fun. Indeed, after last year's brilliant sojourn through Ellingtonia with the dazzling Such Sweet Thunder, it's hard to imagine Feather outdoing the creative voodoo she's summoned thus far. Hard, that is, until you wade into Dooji Wooji (Sanctuary) and hear her conjure a dozen new magical flights of fancy...How can you not love the comically rhythmic roadmap that is her "I Know the Way to Brooklyn" or be enchanted by the faux sophistication of her "On the Esplanade" or luxuriate in the warm rays of her brilliance as she tucks every known Hawaiian musical cliche into her cheek as she transforms the Ellington title tune into "Sweet Honolulu"? As Feather proves for the fourth time, she is the one-woman jazz equivalent of Extreme Makeover-a lyrical Ty Pennington tricked out in Dorothy Parker drag.
All Music Guide
After years of working and writing for the studios and for commercial groups, Lorraine Feather has found her niche in jazz as an inventive lyricist. Previous albums featured her very successful and witty words to Fats Waller and Duke Ellington piano pieces. Dooji Wooji, which has four Ellington tunes in the repertoire plus collaborations with Shelly Berg, Bill Elliott, Russell Ferrante, and Eddie Arkin, continues in the same vein even if most of the tunes are much more obscure. This time around, Feather, who is usually backed by five or six horns and a rhythm section, is particularly effective on the more bluesy material such as "A Ramble Through the Park," although she also does a fine job on the opening cooker "Calistoga Bay" and the uptempo "Indiana Lana" ("Jubilee Stomp"). The dozen selections are concise and the total time of the CD is under 42 minutes but what is here is excellent, almost coming to the high level of her classic Fats Waller set, New York City Drag.
There is no doubt that vocalist Lorraine Feather is something of a throwback who is completely immersed in the swing of Ellington, Goodman and other past legends. Nonetheless, her full-sized band is hot as it rolls through this 12- song set with gusto. When they tone it down a notch, as they do on the charming ballad "Remembering To Breathe," it happily allows the singer's voice to move to the foreground. And while her voice is fine, it's her witty lyrics that truly shine here (either when she's collaborating with current players or adding words to four Ellington originals) with such modern references as TV remotes, hippies, yearly seminars and classic cars...there's also a happy playfulness on "Indiana Lana" that keeps the mood light and decidedly un-diva-like. It's this happy playfulness that makes this another strong effort from Feather.
Such Sweet Thunder
Energetic, enchanting and exceptional, vocalist Lorraine Feather's Such Sweet Thunder features a selection of challenging, sometimes angular melodies taken from the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn catalog. Feather's ably abetted in this endeavor by a band playing crisp arrangements from Russell Ferrante and Bill Elliott that enhance her delicate, precise renditions. Hers is not a big voice; reminiscent of Blossom Dearie, it's just as infectious and swinging.
Such Sweet Thunder's excursions are not for the faint of heart. Super-clear diction is necessary to convey complex groupings of syllables sometimes delivered at the speed of light. Feather is not at all deterred, flummoxed or incapable. She's utterly comfortable and confident, imparting an infectious quality that's hard to resist. She sings her meticulous, clever poetry in a silvery, light voice, perfectly suited to the melodic challenges of songs such as "The 101" (based on Ellington's "Suburbanite") or "Tenacity," with a melody by Rex Stewart, based on "Rexatious" (aka "Rexercise"). Especially endearing is Feather's lyric on "September Rain"-set to the sensuous, familiar melody "Chelsea Bridge." It perfectly conveys the longing for sweet respite from the summer heat.
What can be said that hasn't already been said of Lorraine Feather? Three years ago, with her disc New York City Drag, she proved herself the sort of vocalist who would've earned five-star reviews from the legendary critic who was her dad. The following year she dazzled us as both a singer and lyricist with Cafe Society, featuring her words fixed to famous jazz compositions, Ellington's "Rockin' in Rhythm" and "Creole Love Call" among them. Now with Such Sweet Thunder she rises to new heights by taking a full-length dive into Ellingtonia.
Feather opens with "Rhythm Go 'Way" (based on "Such Sweet Thunder" from Ellington's Shakespearean Suite, commissioned in 1956 by Canada's esteemed Stratford Shakespearean festival), the steamy tale of a timid suburbanite ("I'm just a poor helpless hausfrau/Tangled in your snare") seduced by the Ellington beat. "Can I Call You Sugar" is taken from Ellington's "Sugar Rum Cherry" (his sublime twist on "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"). "Suburban Beauty" becomes the swingin' "Backwater Town." "Rexatious," as "Tenacity," is transformed into something straight out of Goldiggers of 1933. Ellington and Strayhorn's "Dancers in Love" is reimagined as "Imaginary Guy," about a woman and her ideal, if invisible,mate ("Got a sense of style/Yet he doesn't preen/Sports a drop-dead smile/keeps the kitchen clean"). There are others, equally sensational. Throughout, Feather demonstrates a pop and fizz worthy of Annie Ross at the height of her vocalese powers. Genius. Pure genius.
- Christopher Loudon
All About Jazz
It's a bit early, but here's my bid for Best Vocal Project of 2004. Lorraine Feather, daughter of the famed jazz historian/ critic/composer Leonard Feather, has delivered a significant appreciation of the Ellington/ Strayhorn oeuvre. In the early 1960s Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Sing Ellington got my attention and resulted in my examination, for the first time, of the Duke classics as presented by LH&R. It was only through their lyrics and presentation that I was able to hear the original solo work of Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges & Company.
On last season's Cafe Society Lorraine Feather supplied vocal versions of Duke's "Creole Love Song" (evocative) and "Rockin' In Rhythm" (swinging). She has chosen eleven lesser known compositions here from the music of the Ellington Orchestra. Given the fact that there are no pending vocal versions, I suggest that these original lyrics will likely stand the test of time. Feather shares with Jon Hendricks and Eddie Jefferson the ability to transcribe instrumental solos into literate and toe-tapping three act playlets. Like Hendricks and Jefferson, the lyric content is placed in an exact linear match of the music, not a Hollywood or Brill Building approximation and convenient rhyming scheme. Unlike the two, Feather's work is not a hipster voicing but a contemporary conversational description...
A brief word about the high quality of musicianship. These musicians, many of whom are from the studio and in some cases, like Russell Ferrante, from smooth jazz work, are all exemplary. For example, Shelly Berg's piano work on "Imaginary Guy" more than approximates the feeling of the original. I fully expect to gain more insight with each additional listening of this album.
~ Michael P. Gladstone
All Music Guide
It's a shame that Lorraine Feather wasn't able to contribute lyrics to the music of Duke Ellington prior to his death in 1974, as she's a natural storyteller. Ellington composed or co-wrote most of the 11 songs on this CD, though Feather chose lesser-known and especially challenging material to embellish with her gifts. She is also a superb singer who gets the most out of every track, joined by a large cast of talented musicians who sound as if they've played every chart together night after night for years. It's hard to beat her hilarious "Imaginary Guy" (based upon "Dancers in Love"), a terrific ditty about a girl so fed up with the opposite sex that she dreamed up the ideal man in her mind. The obscure bossa nova "The Ricitic," written by Ellington for his small group session with Coleman Hawkins, is transformed to the sidesplitting "Antarctica" (sample lyrics: "I cried all night/That's half a year"), a song that is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone of the sourest curmudgeon. The dark-tinged "Lovely Creatures" (based upon the second movement to "Night Creature") is not without its humorous moments ("You've got looks and bucks and yet these blues/Seem to stick to you like gum to shoes").She wrote the words to "September Rain" (adapted from Billy Strayhorn's gorgeous ballad "Chelsea Bridge") a number of years earlier and recorded it with her group In Full Swing. This chart, with the rhythm section arranged by pianist Mike Lang and the vocal group by Morgan Ames, is every bit as lush as the original instrumental, showcasing Feather's upper range and Terry Harrington's mellow tenor sax. "The 101" is a hard-charging reworking of "Suburbanite" that tells of a dash down a highway to catch up with her lover. The finale, "Mighty Like the Blues," features words and music by the late Leonard Feather, Lorraine's father. Ellington recorded it in 1938 and again in 1960, though her version, jointly arranged by Russell Ferrante and Bill Elliott, will likely eclipse the maestro's own recordings.
- Ken Dryden
The recordings of Lorraine Feather just better each time she records, and if it isn't obvious yet, she is stepping into the shoes of jazz-oriented lyricists like Jon Hendricks Bob Dorough or Dave Frishberg with her ability to match the sentiment of an instrumental composition with piquant and precisely cadenced words...she shows her deep knowledge of Ellington's music, as well as her personal understanding of its spirit, by choosing some of the less often heard songs like "Dancers in Love" or "Rexercise." The results are delicious, modernizing some of the references of Ellington's music...Feather is unafraid of adding new perspectives to music that other singers or musicians would be afraid to change...
As if Feather's lyrics and delivery weren't enough, she, as the album's co-producer, has engaged the services of several arrangers for attaining precisely the musical results that she seeks, the various musicians of Such Sweet Thunder having as much fun with the music as does she...her voice has a range that helps to elucidate the feeling of the music she sings and the words she wrote. The finger-snapping swing of "The 101" contrasts with the brassy Broadway show-stopper type of arrangement for "Backwater Town" or the minor-keyed "Fever" type of sultriness of "Lovely Creatures."
All in all, Lorraine Feather's Such Sweet Thunder reassures jazz listeners about the future of vocalese from an unanticipated source..The CD ranks at the top of the jazz vocal albums of 2004.
- Don Williamson
Aside from the great mixing & mastering job, (Which I'll assume Lorraine held court over), I give this CD project a resounding.........WOW!! Lorraine's vocal delivery & vibrato are something other pop/jazz singers should reckon with.
She uses both her vibrato and the words of her renditions as a means to an end.........Namely, to give life, meaning, and interpretation to her music. To be succinct, in my eyes, she succeeds. Lorraine excels in her up-tempo rhythms, singing multiple notes & complex phrases, as well as sustained notes.
She's a singer's singer. As far as her big band is concerned, the band is crisp, tight, dynamic & consummate in its prowess. As my readers know, I too have a fine big band, so I'd be remiss if I didn't pay a slight editorial comment to the band's artistic ability. You'll love this disc, the gem of the project being her vocal rendition of "September Rain" [Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge."]
-George W. Carroll
It's taken nearly two years for prodigious jazz progeny Lorraine Feather to oblige us with a follow up to her terrific Fats Waller tribute, New York City Drag. The wait, it turns out, has been well worthwhile...here, Feather is decidedly more boisterous, swinging like an Andrews Sister through Ellington and Harry Carney's "Rockin' in Rhythm" and going wildly native on both the deliciously overblown "Big Fun" and the tropically syncopated "Jungle Rhythm" (featured in Disney's latest animated epic, The Jungle Book 2). She also has a whale of a time breezing through Barnet and Skippy Martin's "The Right Idea," a playfully romantic adventure reminiscent of "Let's Get Lost." Her spirited high jinks are, however, gorgeously offset by such velvety additions as Mandel's "Speed of Light" (sort of a gently heated Afro-Cuban version of "You've Got a Friend") and a sultry "Love Call" (from Ellington's "Creole Love Call") that recalls the sexy insouciance of Lee Wiley. Most remarkable, though, is "The Way We Say Goodbye," a soaring salute to torchiness that underscores the melancholic Sturm und Drang of "Black Coffee" with the philosophic mistiness of Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye."
- Christopher Loudon
Remembered by a scattered few, I wonder sometimes if they knew those were the legendary days"......Lorraine Feather.
Lorraine Feather doesn't take us back to those legendary days but brings past days to us. In her last album, "New York City Drag," Feather crafted lyrics for Fats Waller instrumentals. In "Café Society" she works with tunes by Duke Ellington and Charlie Barnet and also collaborates on new songs by an outstanding list of contemporary composers, including Johnny Mandel, Russell Ferrante, Eddie Arkin, Don Grusin and David Benoit.
Like many great lyricists, her use of language is clever. It is also thoughtful. What sets Feather apart is the use of her imagination to stimulate your own and to draw you into the heart of an emotion, whether joy or melancholy. In short, it's like listening to a story on the radio. With a Feather lyric, you don't just hear, you somehow see!
Incisive lyrics deserve superb diction. Feather provides both. Don't let the word "diction" bother you. We're talking lightness and agility, not gravitas! I just can't wait until her next release.
- Bill Falconer
[Her CDs] represent the most imaginative, impeccably composed and sung vocal jazz since the breakout of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross in the late 1950s/early 1960s era.
- Phil Elwood
Exciting..impeccably performed..one of the freshest vocal releases you’ll hear all year.
- Ed Trefzger
New York City Drag
The Los Angeles Times
Jazz can be thankful for dreamers--artists such as Lorraine Feather who refuse to allow their artistic visions to be tainted by the demand of commerce...Feather did it at all... applied her witty way with a lyric to a set of vocalese numbers arching through the stunning complexities of Waller's piano lines... tricky inner rhymes, offbeat stories and sardonic references...astonishing vocal dexterity...
- Don Heckman
The paths of American show business are littered with stars' less-talented offspring. For every Liza Minnelli there are a dozen Lorna Lufts. Fortunately, singer-lyricist Lorraine Feather lives up to the highest of familial expectations. Doubly blessed with the vocal dexterity of her band-singer mother, Jane, and the unerring jazz sensibility of her heavily hyphenated father (critic-composer-arranger-producer-pianist), Leonard, she emerges as a true original. Her latest project, New York City Drag, is an ambitious salute to Fats Waller that required her to first pen, then perform, lyrics molded to a dozen of Waller's classic compositions.
As a singer, Feather suggests the percolated verve of Annie Ross. Her real gift, though, is as a wordsmith who can meld the downtown hipness of Dave Frishberg with the uptown sophistication of Cole Porter, then add a delicious touch of Jimmy Van Heusen's jaded romanticism.
- Christopher Loudon
The New York Post
What a joy, what a delight - what a totally unexpected treat! Singer/songwriter Lorraine Feather has deftly set sly, new lyrics to irresistible vintage Fats Waller instrumentals. She's pulled off a very neat trick, devising surprise-filled lyrics that fit perfectly with the late Waller's infectious syncopations, evoke the sass of his own personality, and yet somehow seem to shimmer between past and present.
- Chip Defaa
Lorraine's lyrics are clever, sophisticated, wickedly witty and with-it; in turn nostalgic and romantic, but never maudlin, and she sings them in an intimate, agile, euphoric style all her own, blending past and present in a heady mix. (10 Best Jazz CDs of 2001)
- Al Van Starrex
The Chicago Tribune
Great jazz lyricists are not easy to find, for wordsmiths on a par with Jon Hendricks and Eddie Jefferson remain perpetually in short supply. There's no qu.stion that Feather can turn a phrase with the best of them. Her nimble style does justice to both melody and lyrics.
- Howard Reich
The Steely Dan Newsletter
A RARE PLUG. Why? (1) Swing, wit, style (2) Swing (3) Wit (4) Style. Seriously, we just think some of you might be delighted to discover this otherwise relatively hidden jewel, which is at once hip, hilarious, and beautifully done.
It would be quite enough if Lorraine Feather stuck to writing...her stuff glitters and gleams and makes you think of Dorothy Parker or Nora Ephron..she's hip and original, a phenomenon in this city of the overproduced and undercreative. The sound of Feather's voice [is] intimate and agile, with a timbre all its own...her words witty, nostalgic, critical, fanciful, bitchy and romantic by turns.
- Tony Gieske, The Hollywood Reporter
"Creole Love Call" has acquired a lonely, magnificently Hopperesque lyric by Lorraine Feather. Rarely have words fallen upon music in such perfect register. They surely will-or certainly should-rescue this famous Ellington masterwork from 70 years of instrumental limbo and raise it into the pantheon of American standards along with "'Round Midnight" and "Lush Life.'"
- John McDonough, Down Beat
Her voice is an innovative, calming yet exciting, warm and lived-in musical experience which I hope will be shared by many...I have fallen in love with Lorraine Feather.
- Rex Reed
There's no one who compares with Lorraine Feather in the jazz world—or anywhere else, for that matter—when it comes to her with, her musicality and her swing.
- Nat Hentoff
She's one courageous writer. She executes this high-wire act without a net and lands on her feet every time.
- Alan Bergman
For my money, Lorraine Feather is the most skillful of the new crop of lyricists. That's because her instincts and sensibilities are not those of a poet or a troubadour; instead she thinks like a professional songwriter, someone who solves musical puzzles . As a result her words are clear, efficient, and artfully chosen, and that's why her work blooms and stands out from the rest.
- Dave Frishberg