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“Queen for a Day”

Sparrow Stone, with Craig Palmer

She is aptly named, this little bird – a natural crooner with perfect pitch. You can feel the sparrow’s pure and sturdy heart beating in her notes. Listen to her marvelous song. Hear her eyes close? Hear her smile? What you hear is what you get – Sparrow’s whole self shines though her voice.

And how can just one piano player put out such a round sound? Bass and drum accompaniment would fill out the danceable tunes, but for the rest, Craig and Sparrow are a perfect complement. More than a capable pianist, Craig is also an exceptional songwriter. Imagine my surprise: Listening to “Hot Summer Nights,” I wondered who wrote this exciting ’40s tune. Was it Cole Porter? The Gershwins? I checked the liner notes, and … gotcha! … it’s Craig Palmer!

I laughed in enjoyment upon first hearing Sparrow’s oddball Marlena Dietrich treatment of the Rodgers/Hart tune “Falling in Love with Love.” But the up-tempo second part reveals some of the most shimmering, charming sounds I have ever heard: the single word “school” in the second go-round, for one. Voice of the sparrow!

“You’ll Never Know” Ð maybe it’s my current life state, but this song gets me. “Love Me or Leave Me” Ð I simply cannot get this one out of my head. And I don’t want to.

More! I want more! I know I’ll be listening to Sparrow “Always.”

– Mark Roffe

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