Kids, Don’t Try This at Home
March 11, 2011
I must begin with this observation: This is an extraordinarily difficult project. Two singers singing unaccompanied is about as minimalistic a project as it gets. The ability to create sound coloration and rhythm is highly compromised. And for it to work, the two singers must not only have compatible voices that blend, they must also be in perfect balance and perfect intonation 100% of the time.
Here it works. Mr. Schumacher’s range is extraordinary, never more so than on “Another One Bites the Dust.” And Ms. Doctor has one of the purest vibrato-less voices I’ve heard. Check her out on “Tanguedia,” for example.
But given the constraints of the project, unsurprisingly (perhaps) my favorite cut on this c.d. is the last cut, “Milonga del Angel,” where producer Richard Greene (of “the Bobs”) joins the duo and makes it a trio. The addition of that one voice seems to make the project a time-and-a-half as good.
Greene adds the two wittiest tunes on the disc: the lyrics to Brubeck’s “Brandenburg Gate” and the delightful “Let’s Go Wild.” The flashiest tunes are the duet’s covers of “I Know that You Know” and the vocally-challenging “All the Things You Are.”
I’m at 4 and 1/2, just because the concept of two voices singing “naked harmony” is so minimalistic that the listener cannot immediately be swept away. That’s why I title this review “Kids, Don’t try This at Home.” Most singers, no matter how accomplished, simply cannot pull off this concept. Not only do these singers succeed, but I can’t imagine a pair that could top this. 5 stars for the best of a genre. ~RC