It stands to reason that jazz singer Lorraine Feather’s latest record would make hay out of the idea of connectivity. She is, after all, one of the most candidly original vocalists going and her lyrical sensibility is direct, conversational and sometimes even confrontational.
Attachments, Feather’s eighth release since 2000, is another exceptional work that features her crystal-clear tones, brainy enunciation and brilliant observations. It follows on the heels of Tales of the Unusual, which walked the tightrope between despair and jubilation from “unusual sources,” and shares a lot with the intoxicating (and intoxicated) conversations from outings like Language and Ages.
It could be argued that all of the Manhattan-born singer’s recordings have been about connectivity to some degree, but Attachments plunges even deeper to find the “beauty so glorious and strange” within.
As with Tales of the Unusual, Feather works seamlessly with violinist Charlie Bisharat here. In fact, it is his attentive playing that introduces “A Little Like This,” the first piece on Attachments. Arranged by Russell Ferante, who also plays piano on the track, it’s a flowing ode to those moments that don’t seem to occur often enough.
Another Ferrante arrangement, “Anna Lee,” again features the violin of Bisharat. Feather’s thoughtful lyrics paint a vivid but imposing image of the “Luminescent” title character, lighting a proverbial candle for a now-distant roommate from 7B. The song is a wrenching account that rings all the more authentic thanks to Bisharat’s elegant accents.
The spirit of collaboration is alive and wailing with Attachments, as anyone who’s followed Feather would expect, and she really kicks out the jams on the swinging “I Love You Guys.” An energetic ditty about the vibrancy of being surrounded by musicians, the track marvels at the magic of music and the culture of the creative.
For Feather, the spirit of Attachments comes from pushing the personal into view. The aforementioned tracks toy with the contours of experience, the details of “attachments” and the formulation of new/old bonds. Her observations about those bonds, how they can fade from view just as easily as they burst into perspective, juxtaposes intimate moments alongside broad artistic strokes.
Perhaps the most intimate of these moments is “The Veil,” a piece that rose out of Shelly Berg’s encouragement. Overwhelming in its care, it is the most engrossing and emotional song on the record – and possibly the most engrossing and emotional set of lyrics Feather has ever inked. Unearthing the aching beauty behind “The Veil” can’t have been easy, but Attachments is the better for it.
Never one to stray from the personal, Lorraine Feather has done it again with this disc. Whether examining the process of aging or the wonder of language or the propensities of the peculiar, she’s always had an exceptional talent for sharing her soul. Attachments pushes past beyond those themes while still cultivating them, digging further than ever to find the heart and melody in the ultimately human.