“Love, soft as an easy chair”
Music, soft as easy listening. That’s the somewhat surprising turn of events on Marin Mazzie’s album Make Your Own Kind of Music, recorded live at her cabaret show at 54 Below. Performers often use cabaret turns to show off a more personal side to their musical influences, blending them with crowd-pleasing excerpts from the shows for which they have become well known. But here, Mazzie sticks with the former, taking us through a trip along her childhood listening to the radio.
Glancing at the playlist is an eye-opener in itself, Barry Manilow and The Partridge Family alongside standards like ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ and ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’. And in the best tradition of the top tier of musical theatre performers, Mazzie completely makes it work, delving deep into her well of interpretative skill to transform most, if not all of this music out of any perceived naffness into something interesting, engaging, even stirring.
Joseph Thalken’s accomplished musical direction and astute arrangements (along with drummer Larry Lelli) play a large part in this, setting the mood for Mazzie to straddle the worlds of musical theatre and pop radio. And the incorporation of a fair bit of patter gives us the characterful reasoning behind many of the songs’ inclusion. You might be a little disappointed not to get the music you know Mazzie for but when she sings ‘Evergreen’ as purely as she does here, you’ll soon forget any sadness.