Anne Kerry Ford | Weill

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Anne Kerry Ford "Pirate Jenny" on Youtube "It Never Was You" on Youtube MusicIsHere PayPlay Apple iTunes GreatIndieMusic GroupieTunes PassAlong Tradebit

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Jazz: Big Band Easy Listening: Musicals/Broadway Moods: Type: Vocal
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by Anne Kerry Ford

The astonishing range of Kurt Weill's music arranged by Roger Kellaway recorded live with WDR's 28 piece Big Band in Germany.
Genre: Jazz: Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I'm a Stranger Here Myself
5:05 $0.99
2. My Ship
2:28 $0.99
3. Lonely House
4:00 $0.99
4. Pirate Jenny
5:48 $0.99
5. Tango Ballad
4:41 $0.99
6. One Life to Live
3:04 $0.99
7. Solomon Song
4:00 $0.99
8. Youkali
4:50 $0.99
9. Tschaikowsky
2:33 $0.99
10. Song of the Rhineland
4:19 $0.99
11. Progress
3:20 $0.99
12. It Never Was You
2:18 $0.99
13. Surabaya Johnny
5:07 $0.99
14. Listen to My Song
5:27 $0.99
15. Lost in the Stars
3:56 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Weill" was recorded (for the most part) live in performance with Anne Kerry Ford and the famed 28 piece WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany's Philharmonic Hall, arranged and conducted by jazz legend Roger Kellaway. The recording is supplemented by intimate tracks from the studio with musicians John Boswell on piano, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith on cello, William Artope on trumpet, Dan Higgins and Gary Meeks on woodwinds, and Robben Ford on guitar. A duet with Broadway's Brian Lane Green on "Tango Ballad" rounds out this collection of fifteen songs from Kurt Weill’s German and American songbooks, including the French “Youkali”, sung here in a rare English translation and the all but unknown "Song of the Rhineland". “Weill” was produced by Anne's husband who is four-time Grammy nominee Robben Ford. "Weill" has received remarkable reviews world-wide.

"Pirate Jenny" was chosen by USA Today's Elysa Gardner to be in the "weekly playlist"; Gardner wrote "Ford brings memorable sturm und drang to the Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht classic." (11/13/06)

Anne Kerry Ford began her career by graduating from The Juilliard School of Drama when she was only twenty years old. She worked extensively in classical theatre before making her Broadway debut as Grace Farrell in "Annie". Film work includes playing Dudley Moore's wife in Marshall Brickman's "Lovesick," as well as appearing in "Clean and Sober," and in Peter Weir's "Fearless." She also made numerous guest appearances on series television. One of her favorite musical theatre appearances was starring with Amanda McBroom in "Harry Chapin, Lies and Legends" in Chicago (also recording the cast album of that show). Returning to Broadway to appear in "Threepenny Opera" with Sting in 1990, she followed that by creating the role of Margaret in the musical "Jekyll and Hyde" opposite John Cullum. In 1996, Anne made her debut cabaret appearance at The Gardenia in Hollywood. Her husband, renowned guitarist Robben Ford, produced her first solo CD "In the Nest of the Moon" which Josef Woodard of "The L.A. Times" called, "An impressive debut CD...simply a celebration of the American popular song." Anne began her longtime collaboration with her musical director John Boswell on a tribute to Stephen Sondheim and his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein, which L.A. Weekly called , "An earful of some of the best interpretations of both Hammerstein and Sondheim," and caused "L.A. Jazz Scene" to declare, "She is more than ready for stardom." Selections from that show entitled "Something Wonderful" was released on the LML Music label in 1998. Anne was the vocalist for the West German Radio Orchestra's Big Band tribute to Kurt Weill's centenary in Cologne, Germany, also touring to Dusseldorf and Liege, Belgium. In 2001 she made her US concert debut with an encore presentation of this Weill concert at The John Anson Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Anne returned to The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in 2002 to be the vocalist in "Blue Skies", a collaboration with her husband and jazz great Russell Ferrante. Regular appearances have included The Mabel Mercer Cabaret Conventions on both coasts, LA’s Gardenia, Cinegrill, Jazz Bakery, Boston Court Theatre and Alex Theatre, as well as Sculler's in Boston, San Francisco's Plush Room, and Blues Alley in Washington DC. She performs the Kurt Weill songbook regularly to sold-out audiences at the prestigious Cafe Sabarsky at The Neue Galerie in New York City.



to write a review

Jeff Rossen

Ford shines throughout this impressive and wonderfully satisfying collection
For the most part, when people think of Kurt Weill, the thoughts are generally of serious, dramatic creations. But there’s so much more to his work, something Anne Kerry Ford proves sensationally on her simply titled “Weill”. Kicking off with an irresistible mix of sultriness and coquettish charm on “I’m a Stranger Here Myself”, Ford puts together an hour-plus program that mixes some of Weill’s better-known titles with a healthy dose of those more rarely heard, and she and arrangers Roger Kellaway and John Boswell craft outstanding presentations of the works, whether it’s the grand, epic storytelling sweep of “pirate Jenny”, which Ford delivers in a tour-de-force that’s a stunner, or the restrained simplicity and rich tenderness of Ford’s vocal backed by Boswell’s rich piano.
Combining live recordings with the WDR Big Band at Philharmonic Hall in Cologne, Germany, with studio creations- and were it not for the applause at the end of the live selections, one would be hard-pressed to separate them-Ford’s warm voice works wonders with Weill’s melodies while her considerable acting talent conveys the stories and emotions of lyricists Ira Gershwin, Bertolt Brecht and others. One feels the desperation and anger in “Lonely House” and regret and resignation in “It Never Was You”, and then there’s the playfulness of “Tschaikowsky” and “Tango Ballad” (with guest Brian Lane Green). But whatever the style of Weill’s music or the story the song tells, Ford shines throughout this impressive and wonderfully satisfying collection

Rob Lester

Smooth as silk with quite a bit of spice
"My ship has sails that are made of silk .... and of jam and spice, there's a paradise..." sings Anne Kerry Ford on her new CD, Weill, and her voice sometimes resembles the smoothness of that silk and other times there's quite a bit of the spice. In that classic ballad, "My Ship," and most of the others, she finds more vocal colors and attitudes within one song than some singers present over the course of an entire CD. By the time the album ends with a noble yet pleading "Lost in the Stars," she has run the gamut. Anne sees and seizes many opportunities to bring out the potential of colorful words and lines - switching from a sweet tone to a harsh one, spitting out a phrase, letting go with a real cry in her voice and taking full advantage of a pause. With the dramatic and emotional theater songs all with music by Kurt Weill, she has material that can let her give full reign to her instincts and talents as an actress. Her acting resume includes everything from a Broadway stint as Grace in Annie to Shakespeare to a soap opera. She was also in the 1990 Broadway revival of Weill's The Threepenny Opera. From that score, Anne takes on the powerful "Pirate Jenny," "Solomon Song" and in an effective duet with Brian Lane Green, "Tango Ballad." All use the Marc Blitzstein translation of Bertolt Brecht's German lyrics. (Most of the CD was recorded live before an audience in the composer's native Germany, but except for a couple of lines, she sings everything in English.)...I admire this performer's fearlessness. Anne goes for broke in the melodramatic "Surabaya Johnny" and rages and sobs through this angry piece, presenting a believably tortured character. She rips through "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" (words by Ogden Nash, One Touch of Venus) with bravura and sarcasm, showy vamping and assertive sashaying as the brass blares. She sure knows how to the make the most of chosen consonants, too, making them as crisp or tough as over-baked strudel crust....On all of her CDs, her work is enhanced by the contributions of her husband, the talented guitarist-producer Robben Ford, and sensitive pianist John Boswell. Here, her big band arrangements are by Roger Kellaway, with as much impressive variety as Anne has in her vocal and actorly choices - and that's a lot..

Shea Breaux Wells

Deep Cabaret
I think this CD creates a new genre, actually. It should be called Deep Cabaret. The depth of emotion, combined with the stunning, velvety quality of Anne Kerry Ford's voice, creates a spellbinding effect that takes you deep, deep into each song. The added hue of Kurt Weill's music only takes you further into the rabbit hole. This CD is a masterful journey from beginning to end, containing what can only be called the greatest living performance of "Pirate Jenny" ever. Hands down. By the time your heart is being slain by "Surabaya Johnny" Ms. Kerry Ford has you wrapped around her little finger.


A fresh look at Kurt Weill
Kurt Weill’s reputation is intertwined with that of his early collaborator Bertolt Brecht, but while Brecht was politicizing his lyrics, Weill was more interested in the art of his melodies. Anne Kerry Ford’s new set of Kurt Weill songs, simply titled Weill, provides a fresh look at the composer, including examples of his collaborations with a variety of different lyricists, including Ira Gershwin, Maxwell Anderson, and Langston Hughes.

Ford is a vocalist more in the cabaret tradition, also known for an acting career. For many of the songs here, particularly those with Brecht lyrics, like the demanding "Pirate Jenny," her theatrical training is helpful in interpreting dramatic and sometimes thorny lyrics.

Ford clearly takes inspiration performing in Weill’s native Germany backed up by the German WDR Big Band, one of the best bands in Europe. The great jazz pianist Roger Kellaway wrote most of the arrangements, giving a jazz feel to some of the tunes. This is particularly strong on “One Life to Lead” with lyrics by Gershwin, which even features some scattish vocalizing over William Artope’s trumpet.

“My Ship,” also from Lady in the Dark, Weill’s Broadway collaboration with Gershwin and Moss Hart, is a beautiful ballad feature for Ford with simple but elegant piano accompaniment from John Boswell. It is also interesting to hear Ford singing the alienation and blues of Hughes’ “Lonely House” and effectively rising to the concluding emotional crescendo.

Indeed, Ford has a strong voice that is never overwhelmed by the orchestra on tunes like the opener “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.” Ford handles the lowdown brass voicings of Kellaway’s arrangement, as well as Odgen Nash’s suggestive lyrics quite well on another standout tune that would be of strong interest to jazz listeners.

Evidently, Kurt Weill is set for another Broadway revival. LoveMusik a musical directed by Harold Prince, dramatizing Weill’s relationship with Lotte Lenya and featuring his songs, is scheduled to debut soon. Those Broadway patrons would certainly also enjoy Ford’s Weill. It is clearly an independently conceived self-contained project, which straddles cabaret and big band vocals in a way that could appeal to a wide theater-going audience. The result is a well-selected set of Weill songs (no “Mack the Knife”—too obvious) that showcases Ford’s voice and gives a deeper appreciation for the breadth of Weill’s compositions for musical theater.

M. Power

This is Anne's best so far--provocative and exciting!
Anne is maturing into an exciting and provocative modern voice. Her work with Weill's material speaks to the present moment and makes me feel her words.

Gerry Stonestreet

Difficult to imagine that the interpretations could be bettered
This is a superb CD “Mack the Knife”, “Speak Low” or “September Song” here, probably his most famous songs, but these omissions only serve to emphasize just what tremendous scope and range Weill possessed. Of course, the name of Lotte Lenya is indelibly associated with Weill’s music, but leaving that aside, it is difficult to imagine that the interpretations could be bettered. Anne Kerry Ford is a new name to me, but her CD reveals some pretty impressive Broadway and classical theatre credits. The lovely ballads “My Ship” and “It Never Was You” are beautifully sung and contrast with the sardonic wit of the German cabaret songs performed equally convincingly by Ms. Ford, who was clearly made for these songs. The recordings are split between the live tracks recorded in Cologne with the WDR Big Band and a smaller group of musicians, mainly for the ballads. The final track is “Lost in the Stars” which epitomizes the quality of Weill’s compositions and the fine singing on offer here.

Ellis Widner

Fans of Kurt Weill will find his songs extremely well served...
Fans of composer Kurt Weill will find his songs extremely well served by cabaret singer Anne Kerry Ford in this mostly live recording with the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. Ford who starred in a Broadway revival of The Threepenny Opera, has a big theatrical voice that uses an actress’ instincts to expose and illuminate emotional shadings. Ford’s voice aches with pain, yearning and heartache. There’s a rich variety of tunes here; songs Weill wrote with Ira Gershwin, Ogden Nash and his best-known collaborator, Bertolt Brecht. “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” is a knockout. “It Never Was You” is tender; “Lonely House” (with lyrics by Langston Hughes) is astonishing, as is the whole of this passionate disc. Grade: A
-Ellis Widner, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Marty Clear

Weill's fans have cause to rejoice over this CD
    Kurt Weill’s music is often considered an acquired taste but that’s not exactly right. Probably, Weill’s unique straddling of American and European styles, his merging of operatic, theatrical and popular genres and his sometimes-catchy and sometimes-melodramatic melodies are more likely to immediately attract or repel. If you don’t find his music immediately fascinating, it’s unlikely you’ll spend enough time with it to acquire the requisite point of view to appreciate it. For people who connect with Weill, this new celebration of his work by cabaret singer Anne Kerry Ford should be bliss. Kerry offers 15 Weill songs, mostly from his later years in America, and delivers them with warmth, depth and just a twinkle of humor that helps brighten Weill’s imposing intellectuality. She gets immeasurable help on this live recording from the WDR Big Band, a German outfit that delivers an old-school Vegas punch to such numbers as the glorious opener, “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.”  Other assistance comes from arranger/pianist Roger Kellaway, who adds gorgeous touches to “My Ship”, and from jazz guitarist Robben Ford (formerly of L.A. Express, and currently the husband of Anne Kerry Ford) who punctuates “Solomon Song” with some tasty acoustic touches.  
Ford’s voice is perfect for the material, with a wide tonal and emotional range and just enough dramatic warble to push the songs, but enough restraint to keep them form falling overboard. Weill’s fans have cause to rejoice over this CD that packs some new punch into old songs. People who don’t care for Weill probably find their opinions changed, but that’s not Ford’s fault. She delivers a heartfelt performance, so meticulous it’s easy to forget that this is a live album. - Marty Clear  

Reprinted from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, copyright 2006

Josef Woodard

His Song Ship
"Weill" is a glorious and fascinating new celebration of one of the greatest 20th-century songwriters, whose songs have been eagerly adapted by jazz musicians who relish Weill's distinctive mix of sophistication, harmonic innovation, and directness of feeling. But Ford- unlike her husband Robben Ford, who plays on the record- comes from the cabaret world rather than jazz, per se, and her delivery is lucidly theatrical. She gives us a brief "My Ship" and polishes up less obvious jewels from the library, including "Tango Ballad", "Solomon Song", "Progress", "Surabaya Johnny" (with its' quote from "Mack the Knife") and the dreamily lyrical "Lost in the Stars".
It doesn't hurt that Ford is backed by the WDR Big Band from Cologne, Germany, whose colorful foundations blend jazz, art song, and pre-existential pop. 'Weill" is a dazzling addition to the Weill discography.
- Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent, June 22, 2006

John Fradley

Anne Kerry Ford gets inside this remarkable music and makes it her own.