Irving Berlin: Betsy “Blue Skies” – Top Hat “Cheek to Cheek”
George Gershwin: Girl Crazy “I Got Rhythm” “Embraceable You” – Porgy and Bess – “Bess, You is my Woman Now” – Lady, Be Good! “Fascinatin’ Rhythm”
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe: My Fair Lady “Ascot Gavotte”
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart: Love Me Tonight “Lover” – Manhattan Melodrama “Blue Moon”
Cole Porter: Jubilee “Begin the Beguine” – Kiss Me, Kate “So In Love”
Stephen Sondheim: Sweeney Todd “Johanna”
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II: Carousel “Carousel Waltz” – The King and I “March of the Siamese Children” “Hello, Young Lovers” – The Sound of Music “My Favorite Things”
David Raskin: Laura “Meditation”
Harold Arlen: Revue “Get Happy”
Jenny Lin (Piano)
Recording: Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, Virginia (May 31-June 2, 2012) – 64’ 12
Steinway & Sons #30011 – Booklet in English
For those relishing hummable tunes stemming from the 1940s Golden Era of musicals, Jenny Lin’s new recording Get Happy will grab your attention. Taiwanese-born, and educated in Austria, Jenny Lin situated herself in The United States where she capitalized on the unique perspective of performing show tune favorites, cleverly arranged by past and present composers/pianists but with a classical élan. Though it may appear her own improvisations crop up throughout the CD, she makes the clear distinction of honoring the arrangers’ music by playing note for note. It’s how she interprets that makes this recording special.
All tracks found on Get Happy are extremely difficult to play and quite the challenge, but Lin executes with a snappy, sassy flair that weaves styles ranging from classical to jazz to Rhythm and Blues and even Ragtime. There is an undeniably creative approach to the music, sometimes to the point that opening bars make the song a bit murky to identify.
Earl Wild’s arrangements of Gershwin’s pieces are magnificent: lush and weighty which Lin translates with virtuosic intensity. Eliza in Ascot has a wild and rollicking froth, pulsating with veins of jazz and Ragtime. Lin’s resultant makes this Lerner and Loewe score a racing smash. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Christopher O’Riley’s reflective demeanor in Joanna that Lin parlays into delicate and sensitive stretches in addition to accentuating surprising dashes of quirky chords.
The “variations on a theme” mode is revealed in several of the tunes, including the fitting and conclusive song from Harold Arlen’s 9:15 Revue, Get Happy. Another piece taking on the same format is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The March of the Siamese Children. In this track Lin brings out the classical reminiscences of Edvard Grieg’s nationalistic coloring. One of the distinguishing qualities exhibited by Jenny Lin is her propensity for confidence and unabashed dynamics. She has a fashion of mastering the dexterous complexities such as those notes floating in high octaves found in My Favorite Things; her assuredness is most apparent.
After listening to the CD, one cannot help but wear a smile and tingle with goose bumps. Uplifting and effervescent, Get Happy will sweep one away into a piano bar-like atmosphere with Jenny Lin mastering the helm.