Mark Whitfield: Some Other Time

Track

Some Other Time

Artist

Mark Whitfield (guitar)

CD

Forever Love (Verve 533 921)

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Musicians:

Mark Whitfield (guitar), Diana Krall (vocals), Jim Pryor (piano), Roland Guerin (bass), Donald Edwards (drums), Dale Oehler (orchestra conductor, arranger).

Composed by Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

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Recorded: New York, 1996

Markwhitfieldforeverlove

Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

In the vast lexicon of jazz there are a few gems that improve with age and shine more brilliantly with each new interpretation. Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time” is one of those treasures. Penned for the musical film On the Town, it became a signature piece for Bill Evans, who incorporated the same harmonic complexity and spatial elements he had employed throughout Kind of Blue. Mark Whitfield’s interpretation shows the same reverence for the original and, like fine vintage claret, has improved with the passage of time.

Three factors are involved in elevating this cut to the level of classic performance: Dale Oehler’s rich orchestration, Diana Krall’s understated vocals and, of course, Whitfield’s delectable guitar work. Krall’s phrasing is a bit reminiscent of an earlier interpretation by the late Swedish singer Monica Zetterlund, with the Bill Evans trio. She allows the melody and lyrics to take center stage, without unnecessary affectation. Whitfield’s warm, bubbly solo lines offer the right touch of blues without overcrowding or lapsing into the realm of cliché. And his attack — it’s almost as if his plectrum is making love to the strings.

When this album was released in 1997, there were some purists who considered it a bit too polished and commercial. One critic (who will remain unnamed) wrote that Whitfield was “as cloying as Earl Klugh or George Benson.” Oh, really? There are scores of jazz guitar hopefuls out here who can only wish that they were as “cloying.”

Critics be damned — this is intimate ear candy for a cold, blustery night, to be savored along with a glass of that vintage claret, the lights turned down low and a blaze in the fireplace. As for the naysayers, the day we’re unable to simply sit back and enjoy a well-crafted, solid interpretation such as this without feeling guilty, jazz will have lost more than just its broad audience — it will have lost its soul.

Reviewer: Bill Barnes

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