Andrea Marcovicci 

This is not a singer you put on as background for dining, dancing or doing laundry. This is a singer for unplug-the-phone, off-with-the-lights listening. In a club or on this debut solo album—recorded live at the Plush Room of the York Hotel in San Francisco—Marcovicci commands attention and richly rewards it. Her press bio lists her as singer and actress (from Woody Allen's The Front in 1976 to Henry Jaglom's current Someone to Love). Not quite. Try sorceress. Marcovicci's seductive physical beauty is uncannily reflected in a lilting voice shot through with fire. She sets a romantic mood with Hugh Martin and Marshall Barer's On Such a Night as This, in which the lyrics evoke a time when "tender, slender Cary Grant enchanted Alice Faye." But don't let her fool you. This is no movie nostalgia trip. Marcovicci, ardently abetted on piano by her arranger, Glenn Mehrbach, means to put you through an emotional wringer. Her version of Henry Mancini's Two for the Road, from the 1967 Audrey Hepburn-Albert Finney film, cuts through the molasses of Leslie Bricusse's lyrics to take rueful measure of what gets lost in a marriage. In Too Late Now, she plumbs depths Jane Powell never guessed were there when the latter skimmed the surface of the song in 1951's Royal Wedding. About matters of the heart, Marcovicci can be wistful (It Might Be You), worldly-wise (Mad About the Boy) and wounded (Don't Ever Leave Me). In the witty Let's Not Talk About Love, she updates Cole Porter to invent some new distractions from Topic A, such as investigating "the cause of Mrs. Tom Hayden's pep." But to Marcovicci, love matters. In Diane Bulgarelli's Someone to Love, that rare modern film song that actually deserves an Oscar nomination, Marcovicci catches the yearning for a passion that's easy in movies, elusive in life. These movies may be another of the "passing fancies" she sings about in the George and Ira Gershwin classic that closes her album. But Andrea Marcovicci—torch singer, spellbinder, heartbreaker—is here to stay. (Philomel)