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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Gabi Epstein - Show Off - CD Cover
image © Gabi Epstein 2010  

(26 February 2010) Art by its very nature is expansive. Just ask Gabi Epstein. A Toronto native, Epstein has been performing for as long as she can remember. An immensely talented actress, Epstein’s love of performing and art simply cannot be contained. And now, with the release of her debut full length album Show Off (Independent Release (Canada), 2010), Epstein is ready to let her honest and soothing voice work wonders on listeners.

Produced by Canadian jazz singer John Alcorn, Show Off features a gifted and able band, including Mark Kieswetter (piano), Artie Roth (bass), and Davide Direnzo (drums, percussion).The band gives weight to Epstein’s voice and vision, making Show Off an album that is buoyant in nature but genuine in its passion. From the bouncy title track, which displays the full range of Epstein’s vocal abilities, to her solemn take on the beauty of "Good Mother," Show Off is ripe with clarity. Throughout her work both onstage and her work performing in cabarets, Epstein has attained a vision that is heard constantly throughout the album.

As well as performing in stage musicals, Gabi began to perform solo cabarets across Toronto and has become known as one of the city's leading young cabaret performers. Having studied Voice at McGill University and completing her Bachelor or Music, Gabi has performed at renowned venues including The Pantages Hotel, Trane Studio, The Toronto Centre for the Arts, and The Algonquin Hotel in New York City. But Epstein decided she needed to take her cabaret career one step further. Her collaboration with Alcorn afinally captured Gabi's cabaret performance on record.

An actor first and foremost, Epstiein's live shows contain an energy that is often difficult to encapsulate. But this isn’t the case on Show Off. Tracks like "Corner Of The Sky" contain an ample warmth while her moving, piano-laden cover of Tom Petty's "I Won’t Back Down" is both joyous and tasteful. Epstein gives credit where it's due, and acknowledges Alcorn’s subtle touches on the record, "He captured me as a cabaret artist. He got the right emotion out of me for all of the songs and allowed me to express myself tastefully."

It's a remarkable thing for an artist like Epstein to have the chance to spread her wings. It's even more remarkable when you consider the infinite possibilities of the future of Epstein's career as an artist and a performer.--Sarah Wyse in Toronto and Russ Elliot in New York

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