Many jazz listeners get anxious when a vocalist releases a new album of old songs. The songs are old, therefore they've been covered numerous times in numerous ways. The challenge, then, isn't just to make it good. A recording artist must also make it distinctivesomething that catches the attention of those who have already heard Michael Buble, John Pizzarelli, and numerous others tap these resources. Vocalist and bandleader Jerry Costanzo attempts to do this with Destination Moon, a hit-'em-quick collection of classics.
A former personal chauffeur to actor Al Pacino, Costanzo is rooted in swinging pop music, largely from the 1950s and '60s. Costanzo and two supporting ensembles keep the action moving. Only one of the 12 songs is longer than four minutes. And with the music's up-tempo, swinging style, there's plenty to hear in a short time.
Costanzo brings a Sinatra-like quality as he leads. The title song is a delightful take on the song, once popularized by Nat King Cole. The horn section complements nicely. The band is featured more on "What Would You Do." Costanzo's lead is excellent, but solos by Andy Farber (tenor sax), Brian Pareschi (trumpet), Dave Glasser (alto sax), and Wayne Goodman (trombone) help give this selection extra punch.
The horns again get some time out front on "Come Fly With Me." Bassist Neal Miner and drummer Jimmy Madison are very involved in the background. Costanzo injects some sass in "Straighten Up and Fly Right." The lyrics lend themselves to a humorous take, and Costanzo doesn't disappoint. Pianist Wayne Sabella scores with a solo.
The constants throughout Destination Moon are Costanzo's voice and sharp arrangements. He and the musicians get to the point. The album may not be distinctive enough to draw attention away from Buble or Pizzarelli, but it's a solid, all-around effort that doesn't disappoint.
Track Listing: I'm Gonna Live Til I Die; Destination Moon; What Would You Do; Fly Me to the Moon; I Thought About You; Come Fly With Me; Almost Like Being in Love; Cheek to Cheek; Don't Worry 'Bout Me; Straighten Up and Fly Right; My Kind of Girl; Young at Heart.
Personnel: Jerry Costanzo: vocals; Andy Farber: tenor saxophone; Jay Brandford: alto saxophone (4, 8-12); Dave Glasser: alto saxophone (1-3, 5-7); Kurt Bacher: baritone saxophone (4, 8-12); Dan Block: baritone saxophone (1-3, 5-7); Wayne Goodman: trombone; Brian Pareschi: trumpet; Wayne Sabella: piano (4, 8-12); Isaac Ben Ayala: piano (1-3, 5-7); Jennifer Vincent: bass (4, 8-12); Neal Miners: bass (1-3, 5-7); Stefan Shatz: drums (4, 8-12); Jimmy Madison: drums (1-3, 5-7).