Clean, clear vocals, with
a Disney whimsy, musical instrumental depth, and a jazz-siren sense, Lori Moran has assembled 11 beautifully recorded and
crafted songs in her jazz/vocal CD, "On My Way to You". Musicianship, arrangement, production, the entire package
is genre perfect.
The CD begins with "When You Wish Upon a Star". Classical
guitar accompanies Moran's effortless delightful vocals. The band kicks in a samba-ish jazz combo vibe that grooves. "Summertime"
is the next track, and Lori sings with bare stand-up bass showcasing the timbre and essence of her vocals. Track 4, "Over
the Rainbow", is arranged with piano and one of the nicer versions we've heard. Track 7, "A Nightingale Sang in
Berkeley Square", winds a tremendously written melody within Moran's deft interpretation. Track 9, "Love is
Here to Stay" features an easy-going instrumental break that has Moran humming with beauty and precision...great.
Overall, the CD is a welcome vibe with vocals that are about as gentle and pure as the genre can provide.
A specter looms over all soprano singers of standards: How much Barbra? That Streisand has such influence
begs the question, "Can I sound like Barbra, even if I'm more jazzy — and should I?" Moran strikes the right
tone, in ways literal and figurative, and doesn't overdo the Barbra but would appeal to those who love her. Despite occasional
overuse of vibrato, her voice is something to behold when she sings it straight. Standouts are "When You Wish Upon a
Star," "Over the Rainbow" and Cole Porter's seldom-heard "Give Him the Oo-La-La." The presence of
guitarist John Pisano and bassist Ken Wild doesn't hurt either.
-- Steven Rosenberg
L.A. Jazz Scene
Lori Moran is a most welcome addition to the Southern California music scene. She has a caressing, warm, crystal clear soprano
voice. Her intonation is impeccable and she obviously appreciates language, prosody and pacing for she “tells the story”
on all eleven selections of On My Way to You, her debut CD.
Repertoire is not always a new singer’s strongest suit. Too often you get a plethora of weak originals
or a clichéd set of well-worn standards. But Moran obviously gave some thought to her selections. For example, she
included an arcane song called “Give Him the Oo-La-La” and her personality pours out through Cole Porter’s
lyrics. The title song “On My Way to You” is an inexplicably neglected Michel Legrand song that Moran brings to
life. It has a beautiful melody with a big range, a hypnotic sound and lovely Bergman lyrics. Moran’s version is a wonderful
addition to the small canon of recorded versions. I am not a fan of originals, finding most of them weak melodically and lyrically
but “The Stars Above the Stars,” written by pianist Richard Berman (lyrics by Mike Blottenberger) is a worthy
newer song. Moran’s is the first recording of this fine composition.
I especially love the medley of “It
Only Takes a Moment and “I Promise You a Happy Ending” two Jerry Herman songs from Hello Dolly and
Mack & Mabel, respectively. When you hear Moran sing songs like these you have to think that this lady should be
featured in musical shows and plays; her voice and style are perfect for such music. “Why Can’t I Forget,”
which is new to me, has very strong lyrics by Judy Barron and music by Jeffrey Harris. Moran has stated that “A Nightingale
Sang in Berkeley Square” was the first standard she ever learned. Well, after hearing her version, you will be glad
that she did. Her rendition could be distributed as a textbook on how to sing a ballad.
I could go on and on, but
the best bet is for you to pick up the CD, select a favorite song, insert disc into your CD player and be prepared for joy.
Before I close, though, let’s give credit where credit is due. A vocalist of the quality and intelligence of Lori Moran
requires a support group to match. She has the very best in pianists John Proulx, Richard Berman, Bill Schneider, bassist
Kenny Wild, guitarist John Pisano and Mark Stevens on percussion. String arrangements are by Jon Charles. The vocal and piano
arrangements are by John Proulx.
Lori Moran strikes gold in her impressive debut; this is her first
CD but it will certainly not be her last. Although self-produced, Moran’s On My Way to You is stylish and very
well packaged. Some label should pick up this album and ensure it gets a wider distribution.”
And here's a review of another
album Lori recently recorded, with instrumental rock guitarist Brett Michael Spunt, called "Rebirth":
Whisperin and Hollerin
Think of Brett Michael Spunt as a painter as well as musician. His instrumentals on Rebirth
conjure vivid images of blue skies and wide-open oceans. They don't create moods as much as they do portraits, filling the
brain with a vast array of colours and bright lights.
Opening the CD with sparkling keyboards on "The Mind
of Spunt," you almost think that Spunt is about to shift into New Age territory until Lori Moran's disembodied vocals
segues seamlessly into Spunt's scorching guitar riffs. It's a transcendent moment, a woman's lovely voice melting into Spunt's
axe, which then explodes into dazzling, otherworldly soloing. It's utterly breathtaking.
Moran is a secret ingredient
to Spunt's prog-rock recipe. Her honeyed voice brings warmth to the proceedings, especially on "Interplanetary Voyage,"
in which her dreamy vocals give an Ofra Haza vibe. On the flamenco-flavoured "Spanish Soulnata," Moran is completely
radiant, taking Spunt's AOR leanings into world-music territory.
However, Spunt is never overshadowed. His phenomenal guitar playing explores various textures, producing an
intellectual and emotional experience that doesn't need words to be fully appreciated. On earphones, Spunt's work is downright
Moran possesses a voice quality and tone that is certainly suited for ballads. One might say that she swings 'sweetly'.
Singing in tune and treating the lyrics like an old friend is her stock in trade.
"When You Wish Upon
A Star". Moran sings the verse and brings on the melody with style and grace.
"Over The Rainbow'"
Again the verse is sung and with more than a hint of the cabaret genre, she drives this tune like a Ferrari. This is the proper
mode for a tune like this.
"Give Him The OO-LA-LA" Clever lyrics and a Latin beat are the highlights
of this song as Moran ups the beat a bit.
"A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square " This song is the piecé
de resistance of this recording. Lori Moran is at her best on this track. She shows some range and with
the ensembles able backing it emphasizes the feeling that Moran was born to sing this number.
It is quite evident
that Lori Moran has a cultured, professionally trained voice. There is a lot of 'cabaret' in her style and it fits this album
perfectly. 5 Stars”
MixxStudios Radio, NJ
It's common for us to receive
press kits from independent artists, but it's on a rare occasion when a CD captivates me the way Lori Moran's debut CD "On
My Way To You" did.
The minute I started listening to it, I was entranced with beautiful vocals. Lori's
voice is clear and she has such control. The melodies she sings are not easy, but she makes them seem like they are.
This CD is a collection of jazz standards and Great American Songbook favorites, including great performances from
some of Los Angeles' hottest jazz players - one of whom, John Proulx (pianist and arranger) was recently featured on Marian
McPartland's "Piano Jazz" (NPR).
You can hear some of Lori's music on our radio station, and you can
purchase her music at Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, Earbuzz, and LoriMoran.com.