Magnum Opuss!: Cabaret Songs By B. Iris Tanner
In the tradition of John Bucchino's 'Grateful,' 'Magnum Opuss' is a compilation of 15 original cabaret songs by Boston-based singer-songwriter B. Iris Tanner. The studio recordings feature 6 prominent cabaret singers from the New England area - Sophia Bilides, Jon-Daniel Durbin, Will McMillan, Jan Peters, Jinny Sagorin and Mary Scarlata-Rowe - as well as several songs performed by Iris herself. The songs encompass an extraordinary variety of moods and subject matter, ranging from the adorably silly 'Pets are Better' and 'My Lover the Car' (which focuses on the connection between cars and sex) to the outrageous humor of 'The Trouble with Men' and 'Warning Labels' (which men should really come with), to the quietly inspirational tone of 'The Only Way Out' and 'Connections.' And of course, there are a number of songs about taking a chance on love, several with surprising twists. Musical theater aficionados should appreciate the bouncy tunes and clever lyrics; fans of cabaret and easy-listening music should be charmed by the quality and drama of each rendition. The CD's title is a play on the concept of a 'magnum opus,' meaning the chief work of a writer or artist, and the fact that Iris is also a licensed cat show judge who bred and exhibited the rare and beautiful Turkish Angora cats. Which may explain why the cover photo shows one of her cats posing with a magnum of champagne. A portion of the proceeds from CD sales is being donated to the Winn Feline Foundation to fund research into a genetic disorder that has recently shown up in this rare breed. Iris's musical background encompasses many years of childhood piano lessons, accompanying experience for high school and college musicals, eight years of flute lessons, seven years of classical voice lessons and several solo concerts in her former incarnation as a lyric soprano. However, it includes no songwriting training whatsoever. This has not held her back in the slightest. Her songs have been performed at the 2002 Boston Cabaret Festival at Scullers, TCAN (The Center for the Arts in Natick), Blacksmith House at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater. Her song 'Warning Labels' was selected for inclusion in the Boston Sings Boston III revue performed by Centastage at Club Café in fall 2003. She is a member of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists and ASCAP. Other artists on the CD include: Sophia Bilides, who received the 2005 IRNE Award for Best Female Cabaret Performer (Independent Reviewers of New England) for her show 'Young And Foolish / Are You Having Any Fun?,' and was named one of Bay Windows' Top Ten Cabaret Performers of 2004. Jon-Daniel Durbin, a veteran musical theater performer who has appeared in numerous leading musical roles, among them Frederik in 'A Little Night Music' and the title role of 'Sweeney Todd', both at the Publick Theatre of Boston. Other notable starring roles include Harold Hill in 'The Music Man,' Michael in 'I Do! I Do!' and The Beast in 'Beauty and the Beast' at Washington's Kennedy Center. Will McMillan, a singer, songwriter and producer who hosted 'Will & Company,' a concert series highlighing Boston-area singers and songwriters. It earned him a 2002 IRNE for Best Cabaret Show in a Small Venue. He performs with singer Bobbi Carrey in shows on Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Broadway, and Hollywood. Jan Peters, 2003 IRNE Award Winner (Best Female Cabaret Artist) and Bay Windows Newspaper 'Best Cabaret Performer Of The Year 2002.' Jan is a Eugene O'Neill Cabaret Symposium Fellow whose work draws from an extensive repertoire of Broadway and standard material. Musical theatre and cabaret performer Jinny Sagorin, who made her debut at Scullers Jazz Club in February 2005 with a sold-out performance of her show, 'It's For You,' which launched her first solo CD to critical acclaim. She was one of 36 performers selected from nation-wide auditions to attend the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale University in 2003. Mary Scarlata-Rowe, cabaret performer, actress and founder of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists (BACA), an organization that supports the art of cabaret throughout New England. She has performed her own cabaret shows around the Boston area, teaches children's drama classes and has recorded an album of inspirational music called 'Shepherd of My Heart.' Most musical arrangements and much of the piano accompaniment - not to mention ALL of the recording/mixing/engineering - was done by Doug Hammer at his Dreamworld Studios. Pianist Jim Rice arranged and played one song for Jan Peters and Joe Della Penna arranged and played 4 songs for Iris and Jon-Daniel Durbin.