From the hit show SMILE, this disc lifts your spirits with songs from Tin Pan Alley to Pink. With gorgeous Shelly Markham arrangements augmenting his traditional piano & bass, (including woodwinds, brass, and even accordion), SMILE is a balm for the soul.
This material is beautifully supported by piano, bass, guitar, banjo, ukulele, cello, cornet, flugelhorn, trumpet, saxophone, and accordion.
JazzTimes (AMERICA'S JAZZ MAGAZINE)
by Christopher Loudon
Tunes for tough times: such was Andrea Marcovicci’s goal when she set about assembling her 17th album. Noting, of late, a heightened sense of gloom among her audience members, the celebrated cabaret songstress decided to lay down her torch and serve up some mood-brightening fare. Indeed, there is plenty to smile about as Marcovicci navigates 21 tunes of various optimistic shades, ranging from the sweet contentment of “It Had to Be You” to the downright silliness of “Mairzy Doats.”
But Marcovicci is far too skilled an interpreter to merely dish out cheer. With her immaculate phrasing and tremulous vibrato, she suggests a strict schoolmarm, but one with an underlying saucy streak. So the cynicism at the heart of the Depression-era ditty “Ain’t We Got Fun” shines through, the double entendres peppered throughout “Umbrella Man” are coyly plucked, and the emotional codependency of “Sometimes I’m Happy” and “It All Depends on You” is cunningly exposed.
And though Marcovicci’s playlist favors durable chestnuts, she also inserts a few intriguing surprises, including lyricist Marshall Barer’s lilting “Beyond Compare,” an ingenious treatment of Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” and, most delightfully, “Shakespeare Lied,” Elmer Bernstein and Carolyn Leigh’s biting rewrite of history’s tragic love affairs.
THEATERMANIA "SMILE" CD REVIEW by Andy Propst
Andrea Marcovicci - Smile (Andreasong Recordings, Inc.) The strumming ukulele that sounds the first notes of this satisfying new disc from one of New York's queens of cabaret says it all: here's an ode to music primarily from the first portion of the last century. Marcovicci's at her most vocally graceful here, traversing well-known songs like "Ain't We Got Fun" and lesser-known ones like James Cavanaugh, Larry Stock and Vincent Rose's "Umbrella Man" with breezy aplomb. Other highlights include her tremulously bittersweet rendition of the Charlie Chaplin tune that gives the album its title and Carolyn Leigh and Elmer Bernstein's witty "Shakespeare Lied".
By Rob Lester
Happily, Andrea Marcovicci's collection of happy songs finds her pretty much in fine form. And, while there are 15 tracks, a few of which are medleys, that much happiness does not overstay its welcome Smile. There's a fine mix of evergreens and quaint antique novelties and some little-known material, with felicitous playing by a solid band led by longtime pianist/musical director Shelly Markham, who joins her for a few numbers vocally to fine effect.
It's no secret to followers of the elegant cabaret diva of longstanding that she has had her share of vocal troubles and rough patches. Her unusual voice can be unreliable, but in this studio recording of her most recent theme show, things are more in focus and we're on more solid musical ground without a labored feeling about it. The arrangements and phrasing bring nice welcome nuances and colors.
While some singers sound like self-conscious but game visitors while exploring vintage material, Andrea sounds right at home, relishing it, owning it, wrapping herself in it all. Her delight is infectious. Ever aware and respectful of the craftsmanship of songwriters, she brings out and points up rhymes and the more delicious or evocative adjectives and turns of phrase. An actress who can do a lot with a line or an attitude, she can deepen a song most toss off (taking "It All Depends on You" seriously—a rare event). And, with attentive skill and affection, she finds and masters the crisp, quick rhythms in "Umbrella Man" and "12th Street Rag," welcome choices. Her comic timing is fresh and piquant in the sly get-over-yourself Carolyn Leigh lyric, "Shakespeare Lied" (from How Now, Dow Jones, melody by Elmer Bernstein), one of a few numbers on the album she has recorded before. And when it comes time for genuine warmth, she has a well of feeling that illuminates a lyric line and her way of clinging to a melodic phrase.
While the torch song has been her bread and butter, it's a lovely change to have this big ladleful of honeyed happiness in material. It's not just sweet—it's invigorating.
The CD is based upon the new hit show, SMILE. Here’s what the critics had to say:
" When she disappears inside a lyric, or shifts registers with a melisma that illuminates a melody's structure, the spirit of Mabel Mercer is nigh… Her take on "12th Street Rag" is slyly bouncy." David C. Nichols, LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Smile" attempts to elicit that expression in her listeners, …Marcovicci dares to explore the subtexts of happiness, even while performing music of palpable optimism. …"Smile" traces a kind of dramatic arc, from ebullient tunes of the Depression era to songs with a bit more edge and a darker undertone. … Each evokes a period-piece picture of happiness, buoyed by Marcovicci's high spirits and up-tempo rhythm…. Tunes such as "Zing a Little Zong" and "Mairzy Doats"…are excuses to smile. ….Marcovicci - who loves nothing more than a torch song - succumbs to her need to look for the cloud inside the silver lining. You can hear it in the yearning she brings to a medium-slow version of "If I Had You" and the seductive rhythmic sway she expresses in "It Had to Be You," the two elegantly paired in a medley about desire and fulfillment. …"Shakespeare Lied," … (is) a kind of antidote to the traditional love song,… "It All Depends on You" (is) sung as part of an ingenious song medley on the search for bliss… In "Glitter in the Air," Marcovicci offers a sweeping melody line and surging rhythmic undertow to capture the heady feeling that comes with letting go of fear and embracing life. And in "Look at Those Eyes," she reveals a parent's awe and wonder at gazing upon a newborn child, another reason to smile (even if you're not a parent). "Smile" ranks among her best."
Howard Reich, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE