Matt Dusk: The Best Is Yet to Come

It will be a sad day when jazz singing is defined by nostalgia efforts like this one. Jazz will become like opera, an art form in which imitating the mannerisms of a previous century has mostly replaced more immediate and original expressions of creativity. But if Sinatra impersonators ever grow as popular as Elvis clones, Dusk will be in his sweet spot. This record is merely playacting, with an expensive horn and string section as backdrop. Your faithful reviewer would like to ignore such releases but, like bad money squeezing out real legal tender, they are increasingly finding their way into circulation, and fans need to be educated enough to protect themselves.

November 24, 2007 · 0 comments


Harry Connick, Jr.: My Blue Heaven

Connick is perhaps the most widely imitated male singer of pop standards of his generation, but he still stands out head-and-shoulders above his emulators. Where Connick is slick, the Connick wannabes are oh-so-slick; where he is controlled they are mechanical. His performances sometimes linger at the borderline where jazz becomes cabaret fare, but Connick is never saccharine. His phrasing and sensitivity to dynamics are first rate, and even this ancient song, written the same year they introduced talking movies, sounds fresh and up-to-date.

November 20, 2007 · 0 comments


Michael Bublé: Summer Wind

If Bublé is the future of jazz singing, then the future looks just like the past. This young Canadian vocalist has genuine talent, but he is so tightly packaged by his handlers that he might be some computer- generated version of a modern-day crooner. Mix in boyish good looks, a swagger, an attitude, some classic band charts, and a slick publicity campaign, and this is what the result looks like. But Bublé's vocal cords are strong, and he projects with the energy of an American Idol finalist. When he finds his own voice, Bublé might create something of lasting value. In the meantime, we don't need one more Harry Connick wannabe.

November 16, 2007 · 0 comments


Peter Cincotti: I Changed the Rules

Cincotti opened his eponymous debut CD with a song he composed (featuring lyrics by his mom!) called "I Changed the Rules." But Mom is not the best judge of her son's talent. Truth to tell, Cincotti follows the rulebook down to the most slavish detail. He adopts the pretty boy look, the retro stylings, the slick demeanor, and the musty repertoire - everything you would need to play a jazz singer in a period movie. This is what rock-pop moguls think jazz should sound like - unfortunately they expect us to go along for the ride. We recommend that Cincotti, in his future recordings, try changing the rules.

November 02, 2007 · 0 comments


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