Laura Dickinson is my secret weapon. She is my go-to singer for anything I do. She also arranges background vocals with me. We can talk in shorthand. We read each other's minds when we work. I'm glad to call her my friend.
Danny Jacob, Composer of Phineas and Ferb
"Dickinson brings to the task a pitch-perfect voice, clear articulation, impeccable timing, a healthy respect for a lyric and a supporting cast comprised of many of the Los Angeles area's foremost jazz musicians, with arrangements by a who's who of dependable craftsmen."
Jack Bowers, allaboutjazz.com
"From the first notes of “Come Fly With Me," the opening selection on One For My Baby, it is obvious that Laura Dickinson has a very powerful voice, an appealing tone and the ability to swing. As the program progresses, it is also apparent that she loves the music of Frank Sinatra.
Up to this point, Laura Dickinson has been most notable as a session singer. Her vocals have been heard in the two Pitch Perfect films, in animated features on the Disney Channel, and on commercials. She has also toured with the British rock group Spiritualized and opened for Tony Bennett and Lyle Lovett. But what does any of that have to do with Frank Sinatra?
As it turns out, Sinatra was Ms. Dickinson’s first inspiration as a singer and she has loved his music since she was 13. Her solo recording debut One For My Baby is her tribute to Sinatra during his centennial year, featuring her vocals on 15 songs associated with him.
Laura Dickinson is joined by some of Los Angeles’ top studio musicians on arrangements by James A. McMillen, Gordon Goodwin (“Learnin’ The Blues"), Alan Steinberger, Elliot Deutsch and Willie Murillo plus vintage charts by Marty Paich (“Here’s To The Losers") and Sammy Nestico (“Indian Summer"), and a rendition of “The Best Is Yet To Come" jointly arranged by Quincy Jones and John Clayton. In addition the singer arranged or co-arranged three of the more intimate performances. While there are some short solos heard along the way, including spots for soprano sax and trombone (probably Bob McChesney) on “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me," the main focus is on the singer and her interplay with the ensemble.
“Come Fly With Me," which utilizes the full big band and strings, is given an exuberant and joyful version with Laura Dickinson soaring over the orchestra. She is passionate on “Learnin’ the Blues," excels on the catchy rhythmic arrangement given “The Tender Trap" and displays sincere feelings on “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry." During the swingers such as “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me," “Here’s To the Losers," “How About You," a reharmonized and modernized “You Go To My Head," “The Best Is Yet To Come" and the relatively lesser-known “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die," Ms. Dickinson displays power on the level of Barbra Streisand, perfect pitch (hitting the center of each note), and command of the stage.
However for this listener, it is the beauty of her voice on the ballads, hitting high notes with ease and singing some wondrous long tones, that is most appealing. She is heard in superb form on such songs as “Indian Summer" and “All The Way," and takes a few songs with a small group. She interacts closely with guitarist Danny Jacob on “I Only Have Eyes For You," pianist Vince di Mura on “One For My Baby" and is quite touching on a duet version of “My Funny Valentine" with electric bassist Neil Stubenhaus.
One For My Baby is an impressive debut for Laura Dickinson, and a heartfelt tribute to her musical idol, Frank Sinatra.
Scott Yanow, author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, The Great Jazz Guitarists, Jazz On Film and Jazz on Record 1917-76
"Paying homage to the Chairman of the Board is never quite an easy thing to do, but vocalist Laura Dickinson takes on this challenge and delivers one of the best tributes to the crooner on her astonishing debut album One for My Baby, To Frank Sinatra with Love. Influenced by the sound early on in her life as a teenager and falling in love with Sinatra every time her parents played his music, the native Southern California songstress vowed to do her part in keeping his legacy alive. An in-demand performer in Hollywood, her voice is heard in the sound track of the hit movie Pitch Perfect, in various commercials and other Disney Channel projects.
On this remarkable debut, Dickinson offers some of Sinatra's favorite songs in a fifteen-piece repertoire performed by many of Los Angeles area's jazz masters presenting the music with classic arrangements by such designers as Sammy Nestico, Gordon Goodwin, Marty Paich and Alan Steinberger. Supported by a big band, the vocalist begins this blast from the past with the Sinatra staple "Come Fly with Me" then, belting the melody with crisp powerful vocals, turns the tables on the familiar "Learnin' the Blues."
The band and singer swing on the delicious "(Love Is) the Tender Trap" providing a rousing rendition of the classic. Bringing the sound down a few notches, Dickinson shows her softer side on the delicate "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" and the beautiful ballad of "Indian Summer." Her impeccable vocals seem the perfect fit on the familiar "You Go to My Head," while Burton Lane's immortal "How About You" is clearly one of the memorable tunes of the disc.
The music gets a bit intimate and tender with duets featuring guitarist Danny Jacob on "I Only Have Eyes for You" and electric bassist Neil Stubenhaus on the introspective "My Funny Valentine." The big band sound returns with Dickinson reaching on age old standard Sinatra loved to voice, "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" and begins to wind down the project with two of the most associated Sinatra songs, "All The Way" and "One for My Baby" featuring pianist Vince di Mura on the piano.
Laura Dickinson introduces herself in the best way, paying tribute to one of the best singers in the world and surely, putting a smile on Sinatra's face as he fronts that big band in the sky, for One for My Baby, To Frank Sinatra with Love, is one impressive performance by a superior vocalist in one of the finest debut recordings around."
Edward Blanco, allaboutjazz.com
"In the liner notes of her debut album, “One for My Baby; to Frank Sinatra with Love," Laura Dickinson sets the background and the mood for this incredible album. She writes of when she was 13 years old would listen with rapt attention to Sinatra’s “The Best of the Capitol Years."
“I remember listening to every consonant, every breath, every nuance in his controlled vibrato, the way he held notes and shaped words and connected phrases where any other singer would breathe, the acting that came through his lyrics… I couldn’t get enough. I learned the notes, the words, the details, and began my self-Sinatra-training."
She calls him “the true definition of the word vocalist." And who could argue? So, when Laura Dickinson set out to do a tribute album to Sinatra, she did it beyond mimicry, beyond imitation, she did it by applying what she had learned (and, by her admission, continues to learn) from Sinatra without ever losing herself along the way.
Conversely, what we find in “One for My Baby; to Frank Sinatra with Love" is Sinatra as a platform, a starting point, from which Dickinson launches herself and her interpretations.
The album opens with the James Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn song (arranged by James McMillen) “Come Fly with Me." Nobody does Sammy Cahn like Frank Sinatra. Laura Dickinson’s soprano, as opposed to Sinatra’s tenor, truly gives the sense of taking off. The ascending intonation of “once I get you up there" portrays the real sense of lift-off.
Alan Steinberger’s piano accompaniment is excellent, as well as the straightforward approach of the orchestration.
“Learnin’ the Blues" (by Dolores Vicki Silvers) was a 1955 hit by Sinatra, arranged by Gordon Goodwin. Sinatra’s version is cashmere and diamonds while Dickinson is emeralds and lace—flips sides of the same coin. It would have been a perfect duet to have heard Sinatra and Dickinson do this song together.
“(Love Is) The Tender Trap" is another Van Heusen/Cahn composition but was arranged by McMillen based on Dickinson’s concept of a Nelson Riddle arrangement. This was from the 1955 movie, “The Tender Trap."
It opens with the popping brass that continues throughout the piece. Dickinson’s delivery is quicker than Sinatra’s and the orchestra is certainly livelier than the original. The mixing and mastering are greatly improved if for no other reason than improvements in audio technology. All in all, Dickinson has created a brighter, lighter version of the song.
“Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" (Styne/Cahn) is arranged by pianist Alan Steinberger. Dickinson’s control is incredible. The vocal portamento is gorgeously heart-breaking. Steinberger’s piano and the lush orchestration are indeed memorable. At this point in the album, I was truly hooked.
“You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me" is a 1932 song by Harry Warren and Al Dubin in the film “42nd Street." It was recorded by Sinatra in 1956. The easy high notes and the quick descents are delightful and do what only the female voice can do. In effect, her lightness and range make her the female Sinatra. Forget about comparing her with other female vocalists—Dickinson stands her own ground.
“Here’s to The Losers" (Robert Wells/Jack Segal) is arranged by the great Marty Paich and is the swinging reinterpretation of the Gospels’ statement that “the last shall be first." Again, the Dickinson version is up-tempo and is more of a celebration than a consolation as in Sinatra’s version.
“Indian Summer" was composed by Victor Herbert in 1919 and was originally titled “An American Idyll." In 1939, Al Dubin wrote the lyrics and the song became known by its present title. Sinatra recorded it with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra a year later. It is a true standard.
Dickinson’s warm, and sometimes melancholy, delivery is just stunning. Her diction is crystal and her pacing is spot on.
“You Go to My Head" was composed by J. Fred Coots in 1938 but was not recorded by Sinatra until 1946. The present arrangement by Alan Steinberger is much Jazzier with Neil Stubenhaus’ electric bass and muted trumpets. Ray Brinkler on drums works the cool swing with the bass.
Above it all, Dickinson’s vocals soar, sounding as much like Sarah Vaughan’s version as Sinatra’s. Dickinson is intoxicating.
“How About You?" is delightful. Hearing a young vocalist intone the names of Gershwin and Garbo may sound anachronistic but she deliberately balances that by naming Seth MacFarlane later. Charming. Absolutely charming.
“The Best Is Yet to Come" is a 1959 piece by Cy Coleman and recorded by Sinatra in 1964 with Count Basie under the direction of Quincy Jones.
The song was originally written for Tony Bennett but who could fail to remember anything done by Sinatra, Basie and Quincy? This is the one track of the album when Dickinson sticks closest to Sinatra’s version.
“I Only Have Eyes for You" is another Harry Warren/Al Dubin piece, written in 1934/ Most recently—1975—it is remembered as Art Garfunkel’s U.S./U.K. hit. Sinatra recorded it in 1949 and again with Basie in 1962.
Dickinson’s version is an arrangement by herself and guitarist Danny Jacob. Jacob’s acoustic guitar opens the track and accompanies (with only a solo electric guitar interlude) Dickinson throughout the album.
Dickinson’s vocals are completely different from all previous versions. In fact, let me say it, this may be the finest version ever recorded or, at least, it is my subjective favorite.
“My Funny Valentine" is, of course, the Rodgers and Hart standard. This was also arranged by Dickinson herself. Neil Stubenhaus on electric bass is the beautiful accompaniment to Dickinson’s vocals. This is one of those standards that, if you’re going to cover it, for God’s sake, do something different with it. Dickinson does exactly that.
This is more wistful, more thoughtful, than the Sinatra version…or Chet Baker…or… Dickinson is an amazing vocalist but she is also a superb arranger.
Then, at the halfway mark, the bass takes on a Jazz-Funk feel and Dickinson turns on the sweet Soul. This one got me in a big way.
“I’m Gonna Live until I Die" was a 1955 Capitol Records single for Sinatra, composed by Kent, Curtis and Hoffman. Amazingly, the single never charted for Sinatra.
Dickinson follows a more R&B approach with the scratchy electric guitar alongside the orchestra. The rhythm section is certainly more R&B as the band follows a hard-swing. Dickinson, however, gets all the attention with her life-affirming, “never-say-die" vocal attack.
“All the Way" is one of the most romantic songs ever. Sinatra set a high bar for all who would follow but Dickinson clears the bar with space to spare.
The James Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn composition is extraordinary and Laura Dickinson does not fail the piece. In fact, she enhances what was believed to be a piece that could not be enhanced. The result is staggering.
The album concludes with the title track, “One for My Baby." It is a Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer number that is arranged by Dickinson and Vince diMura (who accompanies on piano). It is a brilliant expansion of the Arlen/Mercer original.
Dickinson opens all the stops in her range and power and control. She just might have saved the best for last. You decide.
Laura Dickinson’s “One for My Baby; to Frank Sinatra with Love" is more than a mere tribute. It is both a musical biography and an autobiography, all encapsulated within 15 songs. What we heard from Sinatra—the breathing, pacing, control—is heard on this album but they are not applied in the same way. She has taken Sinatra’s palette and his brushes but she paints a different picture. It is a self-portrait of someone extraordinary and lovely."
Travis Rogers, jazztimes.com
"Dickinson makes a resilient Eva - possessing much depth, more than just "a little touch of star quality" - with lovely voice and consistently intense drive and fervor. Her vocal power is somewhat diminished in Act I by the background sound recording, but is in fine shape in Act II for "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina!" and the Rainbow tour. Her acting in Act II as the physically defeated Eva, overcome by cancer, is a tour de force."
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld.com
"On Monday, December 15 exciting singer Laura Dickinson brought her CD release party One For My Baby to Upstairs at Vitello's. It was a packed house and Dickinson, needless to say, blew the roof off the joint with her dynamic delivery, oozing charm and warmth from every pore. Not only is she beautiful, but oh so terribly engaging as she grabs hold of you and won't let go. Her special guest Mel Collins, who opened the show, called her 'masterful'; I'll go a step further and add 'captivating and spellbinding'. She's a singer to be reckoned with!
The evening was actually divided into two parts. Act I was a round of Christmas music, then a break, followed by Act II, where Dickinson sang most of the album, live. Two shows for the price of one! Backed by a 10-piece orchestra of expert musicians, Dickinson rocked for over two hours, exuding joy and holiday cheer.
Highlights on tap in the Holiday section included: "Happy Holidays", "The Man with the Bag", "Marshmallow World", The Christmas Song", "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm", "Let It Snow", "This Christmas", a medley from White Christmas and "O Holy Night". Before the second set, Collins, who has a really powerful voice, essayed, backed by three fine singers "Jingle Bells" and "The Little Drummer Boy". In the second set, Dickinson sang "When You Wish Upon a Star", "Shining Star", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and nine of the 15 songs from her album including: "Come Fly with Me", "Tender Trap", "The Best Is Yet to Come", "I'm Gonna Live 'Til I Die" and the title song "One for My Baby". This album is a tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra, whom Dickinson adores. In fact, she released the album on Sinatra's birthday December 12. Keeping traditional music alive and trying to put a fresh spin on it, as you bring it on into the 21st century is not an easy task, but by means of her beautiful arrangements and sensational voice, Dickinson has indeed succeeded and should have one great big hit on her hands.
Dickinson's musicians were all stellar and included: Ray Brinker, Trey Henry, Randy Kerber, Andrew Synowiec, Brian Scanlon, Kye Palmer, Vince Trombetta, Dan Fornero, Terry Landry and Jim McMillen."
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld.com
"Vocalist Laura Dickinson is a striking redhead who’s equally comfortable in the worlds of cabaret, television and jazz. Dickinson first made her mark as a vocal talent on Disney shows such as Phineas and Ferb and Sofia the First. In addition to extensive commercial work, the SoCal native has appeared in dozens of cabaret and stage productions over the past two decades. In recent years Dickinson has developed an affinity for jazz standards, including those made famous by Frank Sinatra, to whom her self-produced debut album, One for My Baby, is dedicated. Dickinson debuts the CD tonight at Vitello’s in Studio City with a cast of some of L.A.’s finest session players accompanying the soaring high notes that have become a hallmark of her vocal prowess."
Tom Meek, LAWeekly.com
"Old Blue Eyes would have turned 100 this year and Dickinson is among the first to put on a party hat and let the good times roll. A well-traveled vocalist that even beat Lady Gaga to singing with Tony Bennett, she may be too young to imbue the hipster 1950s these songs emphasized, but she knows how to front a big band and kick it all into gear. A voiceover artist well-loved by your kids, it's high time some adult wandered into the tent as well to dig her vocal goodness. She might not be your granddad's thrush but she knows how to swing. Well done."
"Laura Dickinson's rendition of You Go To My Head is pure magic and chilling enough to leave goose bumps on everyone's arms."
Sacramento News and Review - My Way, California Musical Theatre
"Southland stage favorite Dickinson effectively takes Eva on her journey from relatively innocent teen to power-wielding diva, dancing up a storm in “Buenos Aires" and “Waltz For Eva and Che," and doing some powerful acting as Eva transitions from feisty spitfire to elegant first lady to terminally ill cancer victim."
Steven Stanley, stagescenela.com - Evita, Candlelight Pavilion
"Dickinson makes a resilient Eva - possessing much depth, more than just "a little touch of star quality" - with lovely voice and consistently intense drive and fervor. Her vocal power ... is in fine shape in Act II for "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina!" and the Rainbow tour. Her acting in Act II as the physically defeated Eva, overcome by cancer, is a tour de force."
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld.com
"Laura Dickinson as showgirl Lucy gives a totally delicious performance as the good girl gone bad. Her Bring On The Men and A New Life are diva-ishly captivating."
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld.com - Jekyll & Hyde, Candlelight Pavilion
"Dickinson brings some of the best pop vocals in town to the luscious but luckless Lucy, stopping the show with Bring On The Men, then reaching the rafters with Someone Like You and A New Life."
Steven Stanley, StagesceneLA.com - Jekyll & Hyde, Candlelight Pavilion
Every time you opened your mouth to sing, I got chills.
"Laura is up to the vocally demanding role, using those skills and songs to charm the pants off notable Argentines until she reaches the top with the upwardly mobile General Peron, and reaching the pinnacle of her characterization at the right moment – her beautifully done Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina balcony scene as she holds the masses in the palm of her hands."
San Diego Playbill - Evita, Welk Resort Theatre
"Dickinson nailed the songs, including a beautiful rendition of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. She did convey the regal presence of Evita and convinced the audience that this woman had a way of seducing a country with her carefully chosen words and actions. It is no question that Evita’s life was a troubled one and Dickinson plays the role with just the right mix of compassion, charisma and guile."
VYUZ San Diego - Evita, Welk Resort Theatre
"The charismatic David Engel is smooth, suave and comfortably at ease in the lead role of Bob, and he’s got great chemistry with Laura Dickinson, a powerhouse singer who looks, sounds and feels just right as Betty (her torchy Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me is the show highlight)."
Pam Kragen, Union Tribune - White Christmas, San Diego Musical Theatre
Redhead Laura Dickinson is solid musically, with an impeccable vocal line.
North County Times - Smokey Joe's Cafe, San Diego Musical Theatre
"The divine Dickinson headlines dance numbers like the tap-tastic Anything Goes and showstopping Blow, Gabriel, Blow."
Laura's performance as Ethel Merman won the 2012 Scenie Award for Outstanding Performance by a Featured Actress.
Steven Stanley, stagescenela.com - Cole, Downey Civic Light Opera
"As Grace Farrell, Warbucks' assistant, Laura Dickinson delivers all the, well, grace, the role requires — beautiful, elegant, classy … and a lovely singing voice."
Deseret News - Annie, Tuacahn Amphitheatre, St. George, Utah
"Laura Dickinson as Amneris contributes greatly to the success of the production. Dickinson is a softer Amneris, though she has a powerful voice. Though it is a story of tragic lovers, she holds us fascinated as she changes from being obsessed with her clothing to the leader she is by the end of the show. One particular highlight of the show is when Dickinson goes through seven costume changes during the song My Strongest Suit - six of which are before our eyes on stage. It was incredible to watch the switches, and kudos to her!"
The Spectrum and Daily News - Aida, Tuacahn Amphitheatre, St. George, Utah
"Especially noteworthy was vocal-knockout Laura Dickinson as Yum-Yum’s sister, Pitti Sing."
www.sdtheatrescene.com - The Hot Mikado, Starlight Theatre
"And Laura Dickinson, as Joan, Ruby’s wise-cracking confidante, is a scene stealer."
Press Telegram - Dames At Sea, Downey Civic Light Opera
Laura Dickinson is a standout as the sister with the stunning pipes.
utsandiego.com - The Hot Mikado, Starlight Theatre
"Carolanne Marano (Nickie) and Laura Dickinson (Helene) score solidly as triple-threat talents, highlighted by their lilting 'Baby Dream Your Dream' duet."
Les Spindle, Backstage West - Sweet Charity, Downey Civic Light Opera
"Laura Dickinson's Meredith combines '50s-style perfect housewife with blond sexpot."
Backstage West, Critic's Pick - Bat Boy, Stages Theatre
"As Vi Moore, Laura Dickinson is also notable for her embodiment of the pastor's patient, dutiful wife. Whelan's and Dickinson's portrayals express "Footloose's" universal themes of parents and children teaching each other about loss and identity."
Salt Lake Tribune - Footloose, Tuacahn Amphitheatre, St. George, Utah
"Laura Dickinson is excellent as Moore’s wife Vi and especially fine in the affecting Learning To Be Silent trio."
Jean Lowerison, sdgln.com - Footloose, San Diego Musical Theatre