Local singer's album crosses musical lines Diva: Parris Lane offers a mix of jazz, pop and gospel songs with a positive, energetic message on "Songs From My Heart."

September 10, 1998|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN LNA

Parris Lane, the vocal stylist who has quickly become the Annapolis area's prima diva of song, has just released a recording called "Songs From My Heart."

Lane's fans know she is tough to pigeonhole as an artist, and the 11 tracks on her 57-minute program are a mixture of jazz, standards, gospel and pop.

What they have in common is a positive, energetic message that mirrors the singer's worldview.

"I felt there was so much negativity in today's music that I wanted to put together a collection of uplifting songs to make you feel like loving or being in love or, best of all, both at once," Lane says. "I want my music to remind you of those moments of perfect love you wanted to last forever."

She comes closest to meeting that goal in two versions of the Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen standard "All the Way."

The first, featuring beautiful accompaniment by pianist Mickey Basil, is a slow, emotional cabaret-style rendition that gets all (I mean all) of the bittersweet vulnerability of the lyric.

One track later the song returns, this time in a smart, sassy big-band incarnation with a nice, hot trumpet lick at the end. Change the venue, change the style, but a great song stays a great song.

"Fly Me to the Moon," another standard, is heard live from the Maryland Inn's King of France Tavern with Baltimore's perennially popular Bob Butta at the piano. The bass playing is flabby, but the singing and piano work are delightful.

On the gospel front, my favorite is "Daughter of God," one of the last songs written by the late Howard Ashman, with composer Alan Menken. The backup choir contains nine Annapolis-area children, and the effect is moving indeed, though the strangely abrupt ending dispels the feelings of holiness too quickly.

Other fine songs include the hymn "O Perfect Love," Paul McCartney's "My Love" and the folk-spiritual "Cum Ba Ya."

New pop offerings include "I Think of You" and "Special Place," by Donald Robinson, and "Love Is By Your Side" by Skip Scarborough, Paul Moessl and the multitalented Lane.

CDs and tapes of "Songs From My Heart" are available regionally at Tower Records, Sam Goody and Oceans II record stores. They also can be purchased from Raven Records, P.O. Box 6742, Annapolis, 21401 for $16.99 (CDs) and $12.69 (tapes), which includes tax and postage.

Pub Date: 9/10/98

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