Jazz Passengers (featuring Bob Dorough): Ring the Bell


Ring the Bell


Jazz Passengers


In Love (High Street/Windham Hill 10328-2)

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Bob Dorough (vocals),

Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Roy Nathanson (alto sax), Bill Ware (piano, vibes), Josh Workman (guitar), Brad Jones (bass), E.J. Rodriquez (drums)


Composed by Bill Ware; lyrics by Bob Dorough


Recorded: New York, 1994


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Two of the most unique tracks that Bob Dorough ever recorded came on projects produced by the creative Hal Willner. On the first, a 1984 double-LP tribute by various artists to Thelonious Monk titled That's the Way I Feel Now, Dorough and Bobby McFerrin scatted a playfully gratifying version of "Friday the Thirteenth" (unfortunately not included on the CD reissue). Then in 1994, Dorough was one of a select group of vocalists joining the Jazz Passengers on their first major label release, In Love.

Dorough sang his own lyrics to Jazz Passenger Bill Ware's composition "Ring the Bell." Dorough's foreboding words run the gamut of bell-ringing connotations, such as in the boxing ring, at the starting gate, on the auction block, and particularly the death knell: "Now you've reached the final phase postmortem each bad mistake greed, ambition, jealous fear don't keep me waiting, just ring the bell." The horns intone insinuating vamps based on fragments of the melody as Dorough's deceptively soothing voice contrasts with the substance of the downbeat message. Ware's discursive vibes solo adds to the disquieting mood. Dorough's tone becomes darker and more insistent as the tempo accelerates in the closing section and Fowlkes and Nathanson improvise freely.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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