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New York cabaret singer a delightful find

When the Sun Comes Out
When the Sun Comes Out
By Karen Mason

Jerome Records: 2001

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This review first appeared in the November 25, 2001 edition of the American Reporter.

Just when you think a particular song can't possibly need another recording, that it has irrevocably passed from the status of standard to that of cliche, it might be time to hand it off to Karen Mason.

On her latest release, the New York cabaret and club singer starts off with an absolutely amazing cover of the once-tired Petula Clark hit, "Downtown," and makes it fresh and new. True, the arrangement is what gives it much of that freshness, and the pianist (either Dick Gallagher or Christopher Denny) underpins her vocals with a bouncing Vince Guaraldi sound that gives it a "Peanuts" TV special flavor.

From the Gershwins to the Beatles, Johnny Mercer to Carole King, Mason consistently shows an ability to take even the most time-worn song and turn it inside out – often to the point that you hardly recognize it anymore.

What Mason also shows is a powerhouse voice – she can bring it down to a bare whisper, a delicate little feather of sound, or turn on you like an irate tigress whose cub you are trying to kidnap.

Mason's label, the newly founded Jerome Records, claims to be dedicated to supporting veteran cabaret singers – if they've got more like Mason in upcoming releases, they're going to be onto something special.