Jeanne's Album reviews


Jeanne is musical Renaissance man Brian Gari's wife and his new album is his charming and touching tribute to their relationship and the renaissance of their health. Each had a serious major medical crisis over which they triumphed; the struggles and resulting relief and new perspectives inform the song cycle that chronicles their story. If this sounds like it's going to be heavy and angst-ridden, forget it. It's not. Like much of his past work, Gari has a cheery and cheering affect, his short-but-sweet pop-styled collection of originals making for an enjoyable glide down the lovers' lane of memories.

Beginning when the relationship was new, with songs written back when events described were actually unfolding, we go chronologically from chapter to chapter of the appealing musical memory scrapbook. The gregarious Gari sings, wrote all the music and lyrics, plays piano and guitar, and shares responsibilities in most tracks for arrangements, production, and backing vocals with multi-instrumentalist Peter Millrose. Dean Bailin sits in on guitar and does co-producing chores on two cuts.

Indeed, the loving but grounded material plays and builds, in some ways, like the storyline of a play. That's not surprising, as it comes from a man who has written musicals, including one about a Hard Time Being Single, a Late Nite Comic, and another about his grandfather, the legendary Eddie Cantor. Among his strengths as a writer are capturing specific little moments, reflecting on them, and sympathetically portraying human foibles. As a singer, he can be an everyman who makes it convincingly low-key in the world according to Brian. He unspools a kind of typical romantic saga, except when, after the "boy meets girl" phase of contentment (like "Busy Enjoying You") and a cute pout about a bout with poverty ("No Checks"), when we get to the point that could mean "boy loses girl," the usual scenario does not come. Here he might lose her not in a break-up, but to cancer. Losing something else?one's hair, due to chemotherapy's side effects?might seem an unlikely subject for a successful musical number, yet "Whose Hair Is Longer?" meets the challenge in a down-to-earth way that is fueled by devotion and support ("What matters the most is that you're still here").

Arguably, indulging in more drama and tension could benefit the material, with more aural variety; the subject matter could support such reasonable indulgence. Brian Gari has his own musical comfort zone. The catchy pop music ambience is strongly present throughout, with pillows of cushy sound, things rarely rising above a medium boil.

The songwriting takes in many aspects of relationships in the real world, acknowledging doubts and insecurities, old memories and disquieting new feelings. That the history of prior relationships is not a slate we wipe clean is accepted in the early-morning, drowsy double-take realizing "Sometimes You Look Like Diane." A naturalistic inner monologue with believability is cemented in such understated, understandable moments that avoid melodrama ("I'm feeling fine and so relieved/ It's just for a moment/ When I laid there and faced you/ I thought that I might have been deceived."). And how convenient for a songwriter than his muse's surname rhymes with words he might not have otherwise come up with: In "Jeanne Zoppi" we get "copy," "my poppi" and the wickedly forced stretch so he can say "That'd be awfully crah-ppy."

Honesty and subtlety in approach are partners in later musical monologues that address impatience and loneliness during separations ("To Wait for Hello," "A Short Time Gone"). Mood and musings never get too morose, but just in case more bursts of happiness are needed after the maturity and hope as things wind to a close, there's a "Christmas bonus" in two likeable postscript tracks about that season. But what's implied elsewhere, too, is that when one goes through a health scare, every appreciated day can feel like a Christmas gift. The gift of Gari is appreciated, too.

Rob Lester at Talkinbroadway

Celebrating Love
Brian Gari's albums are always filled with clever hooks, surprising word play, and warmth. He's written cabaret songs, show songs, and a ream of pop tunes. His newest collection, "Jeanne's Album," is just that: a collection of songs about, for, and to the love of his life. The songs are what you'd expect from Brian and from a man hopelessly in love. There are show songs such as "No Checks," "The One Right Before You," and "Busy Enjoying You." There are giddy love songs like "Jeanne Zoppi," and "I Like Looking At Your Face." "I Got What I Wanted," and "Can It Be This Good," are heartfelt Valentines. There are even a couple of Christmas tunes, one of which "Never Ending Christmas," would make the Top 40, if there were still such a thing. All in all, another listenable project and hopefully the source of a future cabaret set when Mr. Gari returns to the stage...Edgar Bullington

I Love Jeanne's Album!
As expected, I am crazy about Brian Gari's new CD, "Jeanne's Album," with songs inspired by and dedicated to his wife. I'm not sure who is luckier. Jeanne? Or myself for having the pleasure of listening to these songs? (She is--though it's close!) The melodies, a quality so important to me, are fun and memorable. I especially love "Jeanne Zoppi," "Saving Each Other's Lives," and "Whose Hair Is Longer," which is touching and whimsical at the same time. But all are great. I only hope that those who have never heard Brian Gari's songs will give this collection a listen. Oh! And the Christmas songs! Love this CD! By the way, "Jeanne Zoppi," when being sung, sounds like "Jeanne's happy." I'm sure she is . . . and so am I! Scott Bennett Walker

A Terrific CD
Brian Gari is a very versatile and wonderful songwriter, singer and musician. This CD is a loving tribute to his wife. Brian's talents are very unique and when one listens to this CD it could be by no one else except Brian. He has a unique and terrific style that is influenced by many great pop song writers and singers including Gilbert O'Sullivan, Anthony Newley, and many more. I highly recommend this recording. Hats off to a unique and special artist...Richard Glazier

Brian Gari Does It Again!
As the writer of 1000s of wonderful songs, Brian Gari has produced a collection that remind us the things that make life worth living. His songs reflect a range of influence from Frankie Valli to Sergio Mendes in an authentic and enjoyable form. I thoroughly enjoyed this CD, and I am sure that others will as well...Ray Pointer

A Musical Love Letter
Jeanne's Album, by Brian Gari, lifted my spirits. Each buoyant melody supports poignant lyrics in tribute to the love of his life. Whimsical sometimes too, and sung always to us, it also feels like he's happily aware his wife Jeanne is watching and listening and enjoying. Beautifully produced by Brian Gari and Peter I highly recommend...Mimi Turque

Memorable & Hummable Tunes
Brian Gari's latest album, dedicated to his wife Jeanne, is terrific, from first track to the last. The melodies are catchy, the lyrics range from clever to funny to sweet, and the production value is top-notch. There are even two Christmas numbers that should be on every radio station's December playlist. If you're looking for memorable and hummable tunes, Jeanne's Album has got 'em...Fred Raker

Great Album!!!
A terrific new collection of songs by singer/ songwriter Brian Gari, that deserve to be heard worldwide. Wonderful lyrics and great melodies abound throughout the entire album. Hard to pick a favorite!!! Congratulations to Brian and producer Peter Millrose on their terrific collaboration. Special congratulations go to Brian's lovely wife Jeanne, for being the inspiration for this marvelous work of art...Tony Babino

Brian Gari Does It Again...Another Wonderful CD
What a wonderful tribute to his wife, Jeanne. The lyrics are romantic, distinctive and unique and sung with such real feelings and emotion. I highly recommend this beautiful album which you will enjoy listening to over and over, especially with that significant person in your life. Congratulations Brian on a very special CD...Richard Bloom

Dedicated To the Woman He Loves!
Brian Gari's latest Album Jeanne's Album is wonderful! And not a surprise if you know his work! I recommend it highly. Brian's music is always terrific and he a wonderful way with lyrics! You won't be disappointed. 14 tracks and 2 bonus tracks! Lou Dicrescenzo

Wonderful New Music From Brian Gari
Prolific songwriter Brian Gari has delivered a new album of songs written for his wife, Jeanne. The melodies are inventive, lyrics clever and the production by Brian Gari and Peter Millrose is first rate. Congratulations, Mr. Gari, on an excellent CD! Joel

Uplifting Collection of Love Songs
Chet Baker fans will recognize a nod to Mr. Baker's album "Chet" on the great cover shot of this cd. A fun collection of songs inspired by and dedicated to his wife Jeanne, Brian takes the listener on an often whimsical journey through their relationship covering the good times as well as the hard times with equal measure while never losing a positive attitude or sense of humor. If you're looking for a cd that focuses on the glass being half empty, this isn't the cd for you. Brian Gari's glass is filled to the brim with love on this one. Enjoy! Tim Rayfeyer

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