Sunday, April 27, 2014

RP: Alison Fraser Delivers a Gift from the Ethers!!! (my review of "Tennessee Williams: Words and Music")

REPRINTED from here

5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Gift from the Ethers!!! April 27, 2014
Format:Audio CD
I slipped into another world when I played Alison's disk - I'm not certain what I expected, but this was SO MUCH MORE! I'm not much of a musical reviewer, and I was not at all familiar with Alison's previous work (although I knew she acted in the premier of Tennessee's IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE, which he wrote much of while I was the playwright's assistant). Alison's voice moves effortlessly through the material, illuminating it in new ways, as The Gentleman Callers' pitch-perfect accompaniment seems to seamlessly dance with and make love to her.

I was transported back to the early 1980s when Tennessee and I and others listened to Jane Smith at small dinner parties, as she sang on demand for Tennessee, a cappella - and smoky nights in Manhattan clubs and piano bars of that era.

And while, on first listening, I favor some numbers over others, what truly penetrated my soul was Alison's reading of short pieces of Tennessee's writing - and mostly pieces about "the delicate moths", as he sometimes called them, women who would be CRUSHED in today's hard world, but lived in the more languid Southern atmosphere of a time now long gone - poetry on gossamer wings.

And even beyond all that - and David Kaplan, who conceived the project and directed Alison, had a most important hand in this too - part of what would SET TENNESSEE WILLIAMS ON FIRE about this recording, is the choice of materials associated with CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER HOTEL and SOMETHING CLOUDY, SOMETHING CLEAR, two completed plays that always seemed on Tennessee's mind in 1981 and 82.

This effort of Ms. Fraser/Mr. Kaplan seems actually perfect to me - a true spiritual link to my old boss and friend. I salute all who worked on it, and suggest that if you have read this far, please don't forget to buy it!

From Alison's Facebook page.


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