Joel Frahm: Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most

Archie Shepp once said "Ballads are the biggest challenge. You can hear every minute of every hour of every year a guy has put in on his horn with a ballad." If that is the case, Joel Frahm has put in plenty of quality time on his horn. His stunning version of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" is a highlight of his CD, We Used To Dance. Frahm plays the entire song--verse, tag and all--and he has the good sense to let the song stand by itself. The flourishes and interpretive devices are kept to a minimum, but not so much that Frahm's identity is lost in the process. The rhythm section here--Kenny Barron (piano), Rufus Reid (bass) and Victor Lewis (drums)--played together with Stan Getz, and while Frahm's lyric improvisation features Getzian ideas, his beefier tenor sound makes the solo his own unique interpretation. The opening of his improvisation is very well-constructed with each of his first three phrases expanding and developing on the last. It is an excellent example of a player literally composing on the spot. Kenny Barron provides a sparkling piano solo which leads back to the tune. In the final section of the tag, Reid and Lewis (who had provided excellent support throughout) drop out, and Frahm and Barron perform a touching reading of the final bars. Such a wonderful interpretation leaves me wanting more. Let's hope that a tasteful all-ballads album might be in Frahm's future plans.

October 15, 2009 · 0 comments


Levitts: Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Some people look back at this 1960s with a sneer. Yes, the war protests and the summer of love and all of that unintentionally devolved into a sad black comedy of sorts. On the other hand, there was a cultural innocence that fostered some inspiring (to say nothing of odd) art. The Levitts were a family outfit whose output might have you thinking of The Partridge Family on an acid trip. Adding to the weirdness is the fact that some tracks came across as quite normal. Their rendition of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" isn't hugely different from Ella Fitzgerald's version. Stella Levitt's voice is certainly pleasant enough, and Chick Corea adds some "jazz cred" to the proceedings. When the tune morphs from ballad to a light Brazilian feel, you get the odd feeling you're on the set of the Mike Douglas show.

November 10, 2008 · 0 comments


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