I’ve become acquainted with the work of flutists Patricia Lazzara and Steve Markoff over the last year. Having heard their two previous albums as well as the first single from their pending third album, I can say they are one of the finest instrumental projects working today. Concert flutist Patricia Lazzara has received a handful of awards for her playing, among them winning the National Flute Association Convention Performers Competition as well as snagging 3 first place finishes in the Artists International Competition, among others. Markoff, over the course of public performances and the duo’s first two albums, has earned a reputation for the warm and emotional tenor of his work. Nothing about their new single “Look What You’ve Done to Me” will dissuade you from that.
It’s the second single from their forthcoming third album release. The previous single “Layla” found the duo performing the unlikely transformation of Eric Clapton’s early-90s acoustic interpretation of the legendary riff-rocker into something different, yet again. This time out, however, Markoff and Lazzara linger a little closer to their respective wheelhouse covering the near-forgotten Boz Scaggs pop gem “Look What You’ve Done to Me”.
It follows the example of their earlier covers in the way that it never seeks to literally, step-by-step, copy the original. Forgotten pop treasures such as this are ripe for resuscitation and claim the track as your own for a new generation, but Markoff and Lazzara have too much respect for the source material to attempt such resurrections. Instead, their cover shares just enough common ground to make it recognizable and uses that as a jumping off point to extemporize. It’s impressive to hear how they do that without ever losing their way.
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Much of the credit for that ultimately lands in the lap of the project’s third musician, pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti. The multiple-time Grammy nominated musician has been a force in the music world since the early 2000’s and her notable success, as a session player as well as a soloist, puts her in rarefied air. She’s enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with Markoff and Lazzara. The foundational qualities of her piano playing are essential, but she’s likewise afforded room to roam and makes several invaluable contributions to the song.
Markoff and Lazzara’s creative partnership started off on a teacher/student basis. Markoff approached Lazzara hoping for nothing more than lessons from a first class teacher, but things obviously spiraled from there. “Look What You’ve Done to Me” is a five-star re-envisioning of a stone cold pop classic too few remember, but it’s more than that. It’s a stunning exhibition of the powerful results these three musicians achieve when working together and a life-affirming musical gift in increasingly dark and ominous times.
Long may they continue to record together. Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara, along with Allison Brewster Franzetti, bring music fans something different from the run of the mill pop and other trite aural swill glutting the modern platforms. It’s a joy to hear them once again work their magic.