Album Review: BEAUTIFUL SOUVENIRS (Bidi Dworkin)

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by Tony Frankel on November 26, 2020



So, you probably know that Stage and Cinema receives hundreds of albums a month to review, and many more since COVID kept CDs from arriving in our snail-mailbox. We have decided therefore to review only those that knock our socks off on the first hearing. Welcome to vocalist Bidi Dworkin’s homegrown album that spans folk to standards, and includes protest songs such as “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?” How awesome is this jazz album? I’m on my third listen in a row. The New Englander has an earthy innocence with distinctive vocals that are free of plasticity and pretention. What a relief!  Soothing yet invigorating, her generous 12-track album released last May, Beautiful Souvenirs, offers a package that I recommend for any time of day.

Listen as she seamlessly goes from updating standards (“You Don’t Know What Love Is” gets an up-tempo treatment to folk) and the way she celebrates Joni Mitchell’s “Morgantown” in the singer/songwriter’s style from the 60s, a wise decision instead of the many covers from artists who feel they must reinterpret Mitchell’s work in order to honor the Canadian composer (on a side note, check out Joni’s brand new anthology of previously unreleased yumminess). Dworkin’s warm tone (“My Heart Sings” is dreamy) melts right in with her trio. On “Why Try to Change Me Now,” pianist Eric Hangen offers deliciously supportive harmonics while Dworkin sings with a sort of gentle rusticity; they reminded me of the great Monica Zetterlund and Bill Evans on the album Waltz for Debby. Steve Cady is sweetly smooth in “Alone Together,” and Claire Arenius propels her drums on “Hum Drum Blues.” Oh, and a shout-out to engineer Benjamin J. Arrindell at Old Mill Road Recording for the superb clarity.

cover photo by Janis Wilkins
available on Amazon

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