Marilyn Harris,
Between the Lines
(Wrightwood, 1993)

This is Marilyn's first CD release, although she has been around for quite some time, singing, producing and arranging music for commercials; composing, producing and performing over 200 music cues for ABC-TV's hit soap opera General Hospital; as well as working with BBC productions, plays, audio books and a great deal more. Marilyn has been extremely busy in her career, and it is nice to see that she took the time to release her own disc after working with a number of other famous artists -- Bette Midler, Jim Brickman, Lola Falana, Donna McKechnie, Allee Willis, Nancy Siebert, John Trones, Alan Safier and numerous others.

Between the Lines highlights Marilyn's experiences in the music business as singer, songwriter, arranger and producer. There are some very famous musicians appearing on this disc as well, including guitarist Georg Wadenius (Blood, Sweat & Tears), bassist Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group), percussionist/drummer Mark Alkwer (Paquio D'Rivera & Oregon), jazz trumpeters Bobby Lewis and Ron Friedman, saxophonist Steve Eisen (Styx) and Sinatra band members Mike Smith and Ron Kolber. A most impressive lineup.

Marilyn's rich and sultry vocals fill every track and hold you spellbound in the web she weaves from beginning to long after the disc has ended. Starting with "Only You," Marilyn captures the romance in being in love, and shares it with the rest of us. A light and bubbly jazz melody complements the lyrics and passion-filled vocals.

"Extra Baggage" is memorable of the old-time jazz greats, and Marilyn has the perfect voice for this piece. Slinky and sensual vocals wrap around the jazz guitar played by Georg Wadenius, and are punctuated by the horn section featured in this track. An original composition, Marilyn's talent shines brighter than the sun on all counts here.

"Between the Lines" is the title track, and it sets the heart soaring in the clouds as the music reaches higher and higher, although the subject matter isn't quite so lofty and freewheeling. "Between the lines is a story / And it's behind what's been said / I read your eyes / And I know we're gonna start up again...." Marilyn captures all the emotions behind a "friendly parting of the ways," the wishes that it could have worked, but it didn't, no matter how much you both want it to.

If you like jazz or pop, this is the disc for you as it falls between the lines of the two genres, blurring them slightly. And provides a beacon of light for the darkest days, or a comfortable companion for those days the sun shines brightest. Marilyn is a performer for all seasons and moods, and her music will enchant you.

[ by Naomi de Bruyn ]
Rambles: 3 November 2001

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