Singer John Vance's It's All Right With Me
(Erawan, 2003), was an enjoyable debut; a breath of fresh at a time when Peter Cincotti, Michael Bublé and Harry Connick, Jr., were being touted as the next Male Vocal Jazz Star.
Dreamsville initially appears to be more of the same, consisting of songs from the Great American Songbook, jazz standards and one original composition. A change in personnel gives the album more depth, and Vance, again, provides the same vocal qualities as on his debut.
Guitarist Larry Koonse (on three tracks) and trumpeter Stacy Rowles trumpet (on two) are effective in adding texture to Vance's piano trio. As with It's All Right With Me, Vance's extensive background in acting aids his vocal jazz sensibilities by allowing his phrasing to be more sympathetic than a pop music reading of the same tunes. On "Like A Lover", a tune from Dori Caymmi, Nelson Matta, and Alan and Marilyn Bergman that has been around since the late 1960s, Vance is accompanied only by the simpatico Koonse. Vance brings great appreciation to the lyrics, describing how forces of nature and inanimate objects (e.g. the river wind, a coffee cup) are instruments of jealousy to the singer because they are in close proximity to the woman of his affection.
Vance is at his best on romantic ballads like the ever-popular Young/Washington standard, "My Foolish Heart," and the title tune from Henry Mancini. Rowles turns up for her appearances on "Speak Low" and "I Hadn't Anyone Till You."
Personnel: John Vance: vocals; Jeff Colella: piano; Trey Henry: bass; Kendall Kay: drums; Stacy Rowles: trumpet and flugelhorn (1, 9); Larry Koonse: guitar (3, 8, 13).