Julia Rich is the featured vocalist and road manager for the current tribute Glenn Miller Orchestra. For her first album, I'll Take Romance, Rich has opted for an unadventurous, but solid play list of eleven standards and one original, which she delivers in her own sweet way. Rich's big band experience comes into play on this disc. In addition to excellent phrasing, her sense of timing is faultless as she interacts with her instrumentalists in ensemble and individually. "More Than You Know" is introduced with the verse with Rich sequing into the chorus behind the caressing of Bob Mater's cymbals. Tenor man Ricky Woodard comes in with his deep, mellow tenor maneuvering in and around Rich's plaintive of this Billy Rose/Edward Eliscu classic. Woodard's big horn plays a major role throughout this disk as he blows at least one chorus on almost every cut. One of his more interesting solos comes on "Stars Fell on Alabama" where he does some catchy note bending. Rich's own "Two Afternoons in December" is done in 3/4 time and provides one more opportunity for Rich to work intimately with a member of the ensemble. This time it's George Tidwell and his mellow, soft-toned flugelhorn of. A very up beat "It's all Right with Me" highlights Gary Weaver's piano and the ubiquitous Woodard tenor as they this chestnut out for a fast gallop. Weaver shares piano duties with Bob Migliore whose skills are put on display with an unusual arrangement of "Deep Purple" which also spotlights the Latin percussion of Ron Gannaway, the bass of Jim Ferguson and Tidwell's muted trumpet. Ferguson worked with the legendary guitarist Lenny Breau in the 1980's. Migliore also does a regretful sounding piano as he duos with Rich on a melancholy "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning". But things end on a bright note with an upbeat version of "Blue Moon."
We are not dealing with a breakthrough album here. Nonetheless, for about 45 minutes the listener is treated to laid back, pleasing and entertaining jazz music presented by a good straight ahead vocalist backed by some very talented instrumentalists. Julia Rich's I'll Take Romance is recommended.
Tracks:I'll Take Romance; Lullaby of Birdland; More Than You Know; Two Afternoons in December*; Shiny Stockings; And I Love Him*; It's All Right with Me; Stars Fell on Alabama; Deep Purple*; Falling in Love with Love; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; Blue Moon*
Personnel: Julia Rich - Vocals; Gary Weaver, Tony Migliore*- Piano; Jim Ferguson - Bass; Bob Mater - Drums/ Percussion; Ron Gannaway - Percussion; George Tidwell - Trumpet/ Flugelhorn; Ricky Woodard - Tenor Sax