BWW CD Review: Jaime Lozano's A Never-Ending Line Offers Unending Enjoyment

This female song cycle is an album for today.

By: Sep. 16, 2020
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BWW CD Review: Jaime Lozano's A Never-Ending Line Offers Unending Enjoyment

Do you remember the first time you realized that musical theater could be more than one thing? I do. It was Evita (the White album, which remains my favorite version). My life to that point had been all Hello, Dolly! and Camelot, The King and I and Kiss Me Kate, and when I heard Evita I was shocked because of that preconceived notion I had about musicals, a notion that did not fit with this new sound. I was seventeen; a few years later, in college, I discovered Starting Here Starting Now, and Working, and I told my friend, "Dude! EVERY single song is its own entire play! They're little musicals in four minutes!"

That's me listening to A Never-Ending Line.

So, this is a song cycle for women and the CD I listened to is a studio album, not a cast album, featuring 30 female singers singing the lyrics of nine female writers and the music of one man, the man from whom springeth the entire project. Wait. What? A man. What business does a man have writing a song cycle for women? Well, the man in question is Jaime Lozano and he grew up with many strong women around him, showing him, teaching him, about the lives and the natures of women as individuals and women as a group. A Never-Ending Line is his tribute to those women, to the lessons they taught him, to women he has encountered in his life, to the women of the world. He had the idea for A Never-Ending Line and he composed the music, but Lozano, a wise man if ever there was one, enlisted the aid of female lyricists to bring his vision to life, which they have done, and then some. Mr. Lozano's artistic chemistry with the women creating lyrics for his music has provided songs that everyone will want to sing, once they have heard them (and in these days of fluidity, you can bet that there will be many artists covering this material). The women who provided the words, the sentences, the stories, did right by their sisters who sing the words, the emotions, the journeys. Lozano is, indeed, a lucky man to work with so many women of substance, the writers and the singers - talented and complex, funny and honest, emotional and rational, but it isn't all luck because he was, after all, smart enough to ask these women to collaborate with him.

I could wax poetic and use a lot of flowery language, get all intellectual about Jaime's training in classical composition and his prowess as a composer, about the impeccable variety of styles in the music, but it isn't necessary (though I will say that his skill as an orchestrator is beyond compare - when I heard the harp on the cd, I just about came out of my chair). I think the best thing to do is to recommend that people who love musical theater, who appreciate storytelling, who like the way it feels when a CD gives you a thrill should get the album and listen to it. They need to really listen, though, because the lyrics are important, and the performances are valuable. Brew a pot of coffee (or tea, like me) and take out the hour (and eleven minutes) to sit down and listen to the stories as they unfold before you. Don't read the liner notes or check to see who is singing - allow yourself the excitement of looking it up later and finding out that it was Ramona Keller, give yourself the joy of exclaiming, "Damn, Betsy Wolfe!" and make the experience last even longer, because once you realize that that was Arielle Jacobs, you're going to want to play that track again.

This is the right time for this CD. In fact, it has always been the right time for this CD. The time to respect people has been here for a while, the time to acknowledge women has been forever, but today, especially, it is the moment to put a spotlight on the women of the world and of the arts - particularly when it is a collective of women of all different demographics, which is what this CD represents. These female lyricists and singers are telling the stories of all women, as they relate to their own experiences, as they relate to the life experiences of their mothers, sisters, best friends or even the stranger who passed them in the hallway two minutes ago. The stories are universal, and they deserve to be told, and with his creation of A Never-Ending Line, Jaime Lozano gives the world a chance to pay attention, and he gives the entertainers of the world seventeen new plays in four minutes (give or take).

It bears saying that there is a Spanish Language version of this song cycle titled UNA HISTORIA SIN FINALE (featuring amazing Spanish language singing actresses) that I listened to first, and even though I do not speak Spanish, my experience playing that CD was on the same level as the one I had playing the English language version. I encourage everyone to check out both CDs. Sit back and listen to them, get down into the stories, immerse yourself in the journeys, swim in them, and come out refreshed.

Then call one of the women in your life and tell them you appreciate them, and that you see them.

A Never-Ending Line is a 20019 release on the Broadway Records label and is available on Amazon, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, Youtube Music, and the Broadway Records website HERE

Una Historia Sin Final is a 20019 release on the Jaime Lozano label and is available on Apple Music and Spotify.

Artists featured on A Never-Ending Line include (in order of appearance) Samantha Massell, Hannah Shankman, Julia Murney, Alex Finke, Betsy Wolfe, Emily Skeggs, Sherz Aletaha, Genny Lis Padilla, Indra Palomo, Florencia Cuenca, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Barríe Kealoha, Anne Fraser Thomas, Kim Sava, Aléna Watters, Linedy Genao, Jennifer Sanchez, Arielle Jacobs, LaDonna Burns, Natalie Toro, Nora Schell, Jenna Ushkowitz, Michelle Beth Herman, Jennifer DiNoia, Whitney Bashor, Doreen Motalvo, Ramona Keller, Alyssa Fox, Alexa Green and Natalie Weiss.

Lyricists featured on A Never-Ending Line include (in order of appearance) Sami Horneff, Lindsay Erin Anderson, Lisa Mongillo, Noemi de la Puente, Marina Pines, June Rachelson-Ospa, Neena Beber, Victoria Kühne and Lauren Espenhart.