Some wag wrote in this disc's promo lit that The Summarily Dismissed's swingin' brainiac, Ari Shagal, is the daughter of Todd Rundgren and Laura Nyro, with Don Fagen her uncle, and Stevie Wonder the godfather. Heh! Right on the money! But toss Carlos Santana in as the delivery doctor, and you've got it fully encompassed. Ms. Shagal not only knows how to craft a tune that'll charm the charts but also has a way with words and wit. More, she inducted vocalists Matthew Lomeo and Kenny Washington as moodily contrastive singers offsetting her snappy perky presence, and holy Christ!, what Lomeo does with World of Trouble and what Washington turns in while performing Shade-Walking is cool beyond cool. The two slow, liquid, seductive cuts sneak past all your defenses amid sensuous instrumentation residing in the kind of post-Impressionist work Sade, Talk Talk, and others have been refining to perfection.
Shagal herself is much more the effervescent chanteuse, though, her voice high, bright, and, yes, quite Nyro-esque. Another sit-in, Ferima Faye, could be her sister, very similar in tone and approach, but Shagal's talents extend well beyond those dulcet pipes. Except for one cut, she wrote everything here, music and lyrics, showing herself to be a true triple threat. The opener, Oozing Awkward, would easily have made it to Santana's Zebop! LP, and Lomeo's singing and Shagal's writing are mindful of what Lenny Zakatek did with Alan Parsons.
This is definitely radio material, though not for any particular venue, the kind of work that cuts across any lines. Shagal's lyrics are as directed to herself as to those outside her in an interesting form of confessional, as Tall and Resolute, a grinning pensée on the frustrations of not being able to physically loom over everyone, shows:
At times, some left-brained discourse sends me to a fit of pique
And Why Couldn't It have been Me is precisely the kind of plea most guys dream about, wherein Shagal basically says, hey, if ya wanna sow some wild oats, here I am! A few of us have run across that situation, now haven't we, boys? Ahem! So, when you're feeling uptown but still want the lowdown, To Each! is the place to go, and with a bonus: you can dance your rear end off while doing so.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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