Alison Jiear

In Your Eyes: Live at Pizza on the Park

There is something obvious when you see Alison Jiear live on stage or listen to her music on the stereo. The singer with the comedic flair strives for nothing less than perfection, and that’s exactly what she delivers on her latest CD, In Your Eyes, a beautiful collection of songs that was recorded live during her highly successful show at Pizza on the Park in 2009.

The CD opens with “Bless the Broken Road” (Hummon/Boyd/Hanna), a beautiful ballad about life’s wanderings before we all head home somehow, sung with respect and sincerity. She continues with the hot “Gypsy in My Soul” (Boland/Jaffe), which rolls into the atmospheric “Another Mister Right” (Zippel/Sheffer), perfectly hitting all the good notes. “Everybody Wants to Do a Musical” (Maltby, Jr./Strouse) is just the right, light break before Jiear embarks on “Never Really Mine to Lose” (Robbins/Callaway)—full of depth and emotional substance—the haunting “This House Is Empty Now” (Bacharach/Costello) and the eternal “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” (Greenfield/Sedaka.)

To spice up her songlist, the performer has included the sidesplitting “Streisand Got There First” (Kates) and “One Note Samba” (Jobim), an outstanding “Funny Girl” (Merrill/Styne) full of strength, and the exhilarating “It’s No Secret Anymore” (Murray/Wildhorn).
Towards the end, she brings out the big guns for “In Your Eyes” (Friedman), a real showcase of Jiear’s abilities and the different colors in her voice, the more esoteric ballads “Our Story Goes On” (Maltby/Shire) and “I Just Call You Mine” (Cates/Lacy/Matkosky) and, of course, her encore, “In My Life,” a real tribute to John Lennon’s classic.

Jiear’s repertoire is diverse, yet balanced, and songs have been handpicked not only to bring out her tremendous singing abilities, but also because they mean something to the artist and have a special place in her heart. In addition, the immediacy between the singer and the audience, a trademark in all her live performances, hasn’t suffered at all. In this wonderfully mixed CD, with her splendid voice and natural charm, Jiear makes me smile and makes me think, makes me hum and makes me sing, and goes damn well with a Margarita late in the summer afternoons. A must have.

She is wonderfully supported by her band: Clive Durnstall on piano; Sam Burgess on bass; and Mike Smith on drums.

Thanasis Kalantzis
Cabaret Scenes
July 1, 2013
www.cabaretscenes.org