REVIEW: Patricia Lazzara and Steve Markoff (feat Allison Brewster Franzetti) — Look What You’ve Done to Me (SINGLE)
The latest single from Patricia Lazzara and Steve Markoff’s ongoing collaboration, “Look What You’ve Done to Me”, will be a featured track on their forthcoming full-length release. It will mark the third outing for the duo since first hitting the scene with their 2019 debut Timeless. The last single saw the pair, along with pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti, covering Eric Clapton’s rock stalwart “Layla” with flute and piano. Their song selection this time out, however, is a little less audacious as the duo opts for Boz Scaggs. The Scaggs original is a model of AM radio magic from its era, the early 1980’s, but in the hands of Markoff, Lazzara, and Franzetti, it turns into something related, but quite different.
They fashion it into something ethereal, almost prayer-like. Franzetti’s piano playing introduces he song and it’s fluid, even eloquent, without ever sounding overwrought. It’s obvious that a song originally cut in an AOR vein with very different instrumentation requires several changes if you intend re-interpreting it with concert, alto flute, and piano. Their past experience guides them. Their take on “Look What You’ve Done to Me” maintains audible fidelity to the original, namely invoking its melody, but Markoff and Lazzara develop it in a much different way.
Their patient pacing of the song gives it a hushed, low-key reverence missing from Scaggs’ livelier counterpart. It’s beyond doubt that the original’s drumming gives it a sense of physicality and urgency lacking in the Lazzara/Markoff version, but the flutists generate their own momentum. It has a much more cumulative effect in their hands. Franzetti’s touch on the piano provides a layer of percussion for the song, though it has a much different design in this context.
Dimitry Varelas’ arrangement deserves considerable praise. The song selection comes from Markoff, inspired by his marriage, but Varelas makes it real for listeners. Maintaining a careful balance between Scaggs’ original and bringing something new to the song isn’t easy, particularly when it’s a successful track such as this. It enjoyed its heyday over three decades ago but consider Markoff and Lazzara’s audience. Casual pop music fans will not be listening to this sort of music. Their target audience may well be quite aware of the original.
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You have to applaud their audacity. Steve Markoff, Lazzara, and Franzetti have been working together for several years now as a creative unit and, three albums in, show no signs of weariness. Their music sparkles with the same freshness it did when they first emerged, and their melodic performances are an antidote to these increasingly poisonous times. It all begins with Markoff and Lazzara’s creative partnership, however, growing out of what was once a teacher/student relationship. It’s turned into so much more.
Let’s hope there are many more such performances ahead. They’ve occasionally mingled originals into their output and you can expect them to continue doing so, but their work covering unlikely material with arranger Dimitry Varelas’ aid practically claims those songs as their own. It’s far from a gimmick. It’s musically substantive, entertaining, and full of emotion. Seek this out today.