Almost 10 years elapsed between West Coast singer Sara Leib's It's Not The Moon (Self Produced, 2003) and Secret Love. Leib kept occupied with teaching, most currently at Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music in Pasadena, where she gives private lessons and teaches classes on improvisation (something, as a scatter, she knows well) and chart writing. On Secret Love, Leib displays an potent and unique arranging ability, one that recasts standards into a very edgy adult contemporary paradigm. These are not mere makeovers, they are all-out reconsiderations of the Great American Songbook.
But for all of her considerable arrangement talent, Leib shines most brightly on the one song she did not arrange: the title piece, arranged by A Prairie Home Companion stalwart Heather Masse and her brother-in-law/accompanist Jed Wilson. With only a plaintive piano accompaniment, Leib is forced out of her contemporary box and into the more traditional singing role of of the straight melodist rather than improviser. The arrangement is simple and carefully constructed, not unlike that of Peter Gabriel "Washing of the Water" on Carter Calvert's Carter Calvert and the Roger Cohen Trio (Self Produced, 2012).
Leib's voice is excellent in this setting, capturing the well-scrubbed wholesomeness of Doris Day in Calamity Jane (Warner Brothers, 1953). "Secret Love" is a welcome and unexpected cover for Leib to show her vocal wares.