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This eclectic collection proves that even with her rough attitudinal edges, this vampy blues singer is an interpreter of the top rank.

Music Review: Storm Large – ‘Le Bonheur’

Storm Large Le BonheurStorm Large is one of those seemingly larger-than-life characters I feel I should have heard of before. The West Coast club and concert diva has been singing with Pink Martini of late, a gig that has transformed her into an accomplished big-band singer. She has performed Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with full orchestral accompaniment. Her memoir was an Oprah pick. The list goes on.

On her new CD, Le Bonheur, which is also the name of her own band, she brings a ballsy rock-inspired oomph to big-band swing classics (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “It’s All Right With Me”). But then she spins around and turns on the Shakira for Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” She also dials it down for ballads (“Unchained Melody,” “Saving All My Love for You,” the former a little bland, the latter a surprisingly affecting duet with sad clown/chanteur Puddles Pity Party.

The album is an eclectic collection proving that even with her rough attitudinal edges, Large is an interpreter of the top rank. The vampy blues singer’s work with Pink Martini has “wrangled” this “feral child” (in the words of the San Francisco Examiner) into a versatile performer of diverse material. She’s as convincing moaning Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (partly in French) – an obvious song choice, but nicely done – as she is smoothly singing Sting’s “Sacred Love” or intoning Black Sabbath.

She marshals her chocolatey voice into a powerful, refreshingly unaffected style that lets her sound natural on this wide variety of song styles and gives the album continuity. Her take on Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” manages to be both calm and glittery as she uncovers the hopefulness tucked away in that classic, giving its final rave-up a triumphant sheen.

Two original ballads by Large show another facet of her talent. “Stand up for Me” is a paean to solidarity, in the style of an Irish pop ballad. “A Woman’s Heart” delves deeply into the mysteries of love: “You can tear her world apart / And never know a woman’s heart.” Aside from everything else, that’s a great couplet, worthy of the classics she has evolved to sing so well.

Pre-order here.

About the Author

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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