This is the first DVD ever released of Nancy LaMott, so for all those fans who remember her live performances--and so many others who have listened to her for years, but never had the chance to see her-- this is a must-hav... more »e! Includes a 20-minute live interview done right after LaMott played the White House, so fans have a chance to know her as person, not just a singer. This DVD traces the rise of Nancy LaMott's career, from her earliest days in a small club in San Francisco through the Algonquin, The Palace Theater, and national television shows such as Good Morning America, Live, The Today Show, and The Charles Grodin Show."[She] is more than just another good girl singer. Her voice is a flawless instrument, but she also possesses that ineffable spirit and ability to communicate that separates the good from the truly great. LaMott is a singer's singer and a critic's dream. If you want to see how it's done, Nancy LaMott can show you. It doesn't get better than this." -- Backstage "A singer who didn't have a dishonest note in her." -- Stephen Holden, New York Times "Exquisite phrasing ... she's like a young Rosemary Clooney." -- New York Daily News "Whatever she sang, Ms. LaMott invested it with a hint of swing, a dash of humor, and deep understanding of how a good song can distill a lifetime's experience." -- New York Times« less
Fascinating to see her develop her craft over the years.
JDB | Bridgeport, CT United States | 02/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A must-have for her dovoted fans-especially those of us who never got to see her live. There are 24 live performances here, including several songs from her recordings. The performances range from 1978 at Chez Jacques in San Francisco to her very last live appearance before her death in 1995.
A good number of the earlier performances are of very poor audio and visual quality, but her magic still shines through. It's interesting to see the changes in her hair styles and her weight through the 70's, 80's and into the 90's.
The best performances come in the middle of the tape with a number of her television appearances on Good Morning America, The Today Show and Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. The high point for me was her rendition of "Out of This World/So in Love" from the Algonquin (captured beautifully on her "Listen To My Heart" CD). She looks gorgeous and draws so much drama out of these 2 beautiful Porter songs. On most songs she is accompanied by her longtime accompanist, Christopher Marlowe. (Together they made so many beautiful, evocative arrangements of some of the best of the American Songbook!)
She is in very good voice throughout, though the sound quality makes some of her "belted" numbers (at Chez Jacques and Don't Tell Mama) a bit of a strain to listen to.
Extras include a very lengthy and interesting interview with Nancy and a slideshow of pictures and home video clips from her childhood through the time of her death, that was put together for her memorial service.
Nancy Lamott was, and is the greatest cabaret performer ever and the best friend a song ever had. I wouldn't recommend this DVD to anyone who was not already familiar with her recordings. Fall in love with her first by listening to her recordings, then buy the DVD to see how she developed as a cabaret artist."
Priceless record and remembrance.
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 03/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Nancy LaMott a week before her death, performing "Moon River" on CNBC's Charles Grodin Show. To be able to reclaim that moment is a sublime experience in itself. Nancy was the last of a breed--not an improvising jazz singer in the tradition of Ella, Sarah and Karyn Allyson; not a self-contained act, a singer-songwriter like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, or Eva Cassidy. Instead, she was a genuine cabaret artist, the American equivalent of an Edith Piaf, a performer in the grand tradition of a Mabel Mercer or Julie Wilson. The talent, the voice, the composure come through from the very first frame, giving viewers scarcely a hint of the struggles Nancy faced--ranging from the public's ignorance about cabaret to her numerous personal challenges.
A few years ago a 30-minute tape of Nancy LaMott video material was released, providing some hint of Nancy's development but offering little in the way of complete musical performances. With 24 tracks, the present collection does far more than tantalize, affording an opportunity to watch the singer's development from 1978 to 1995--most of the changes cosmetic at that. From the very first performance, "But the World Goes 'Round," she displays the power and poise of the trooper she was, even if a bit of "star grooming" was yet to come.
Her musical alter ego, the talented accompanist Christopher Marlowe, is the half of the act that sounds comparatively stiff at this stage of the game. With the sixth track, "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," the audio is finally respectable, taking on some of the same frequency range and presence as the singer's commercial recording of the same tune. And with Berlin's "I Love a Piano," LaMott's spirited interpretation is supported by Marlowe's equally inspired arrangement and playing.
The extra features of the DVD should not be overlooked by anyone serious about American popular song. In a video montage of family clips (played at Nancy's funeral), the young and vivacious LaMott can be seen holding an album by (who else?) Mabel Mercer, a peerless interpreter of the American Songbook yet virtually unknown to the general public. Visibly tired and worn, she makes it through a plodding and repetitious 1994 interview that nonetheless offers abundant insights. Frank Sinatra (another Mabel Mercer fan) receives mention (3 times) as an influence, as do Tony Bennett and Jack Jones. Rosemary Clooney and Wesla Whitfeld are singled out as favorites among female singers (has this girl got taste?!). She reveals that while still a Michigan youngster, she impersonated Lena Horne and created an all-Cole Porter review (sophisticated stuff for that part of the country) and that learning the craft of cabaret became a project to which she dedicated herself. Asked about her own favorite performances, she confirms this listener's choices--Mancini's "Two for the Road," a Sondheim medley, Marlowe's piano setting for Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean." Toward the end of the interview she reveals that she had just performed at the White House, insisting that the cameras have never done justice by Mrs. Clinton, whose beauty obviously left a deep and abiding impression on a mature artist still capable of being an impressionable, excitable creature full of wonder.
Her last words concern the tough life that she has chosen, lest some aspiring talents get swept up in the media dream factory. Listeners who have an overriding image of Nancy as a glamorous and vulnerable diva simply don't know "the life," the grind, the empty houses, the monotony of working the same shows for the same audiences, the even greater emptiness of not having a gig. From her initial appearances, Nancy comes across as a power-packed, small (one wonders if her physical stature didn't play a role in her decision not to pursue musical theater in favor of pursuing the path of a "saloon singer") and slightly pudgy but determined, tough and resilient performer. Solid and grounded, she seems made of the right stuff to handle a business that can be relentlessly punishing and ruthlessly unfair. But who knows to what extent the emotional resources she drew upon for her performances--each as much a dramatic "event" as a song reading--also took a physical toll, exacerbating what was a genetic disposition into a life-threatening illness? (How unfortunate that her estate was apparently seen as some sort of "gold mine" by competing parties, thereby holding up release of her albums when they would no doubt have been discovered and appreciated by greater numbers of listeners.)
Listening to Nancy perform Jule Styne's "Time After Time" or Cole Porter's "So in Love" is like hearing either song for the first time, a revitalization and revelation not unlike Billie Holiday's late recordings of "You've Changed" and "But Beautiful." Bassist Charlie Haden once said that the musician who's a true artist must be willing to give his life to the music or simply dismiss the whole business as of no consequence. A somewhat sentimental, melodramatic notion, perhaps, but such trade-offs happen--mostly out of view--all the time. Nancy LaMott brings to the center of consciousness the sacrifices of the artist and the privileged place of those of us who are so blessed as to be recipients of the artist's gift."
Finally, Nancy Live!
James T. Kennedy MD | Philipse Manor, NY USA | 02/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nancy LaMott was a peerless performer and a noble inspiration for all of us who have "gone through anything." Having her "in the room" through these performances is the perfection of her great recording work. Were Nancy still her Cabaret would never die.
Her fans will already have waited for this delivery and will not have been disappointed. For those who don't know her this DVD is a great lead to her existing seven albums and to "Ask Me Again," the album we're still waiting for.
Nancy's performances of the many Songbook titles will be classics, and her introductions to newer composers will put those songs squarely in the Songbook.
Do not miss this chance to make Nancy LaMott part of your conscious life."
The Best Cabaret Artist!
MW | 04/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw her perform many times, at the Algonquin and Tavern On The Green, and she was always wonderful, warm and believable. The sound and video on this disc are not always the best but they are still cherished by those of us who were so moved by her. This is better than holding on to a memory. You see Nancy growing up from a chunky teenager to a lovely woman with a remarkable voice. It's so sad that her life ended at the peak of her vocal abilities when she finally found her style and her true voice.
Rare Look at Nancy
Douglas W. Ruffle | 03/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nancy LaMott left us all too soon. Thanks to this DVD those of us who never had the opportunity to see her perform live can see her. From early performances in the 70's up until weeks before her passing, the DVD shows the passion and superb musical interpretation that makes listening to her timeless."