Danny Barrett: Indian Summer (2004)

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How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Danny Barrett: Indian Summer
One can visualize Kenny Davis, Billy Drummond, Brian Murphy, and Dave Valentin milling around a studio preparing to accompany a singer of renown, the label executives murmuring amongst themselves and with the conductor in the booth. Then the vocalist arrives, and beautiful music is made and duly recorded.

The difference about "Indian Summer is that the label executive, the producer—and the singer—are one and the same. Kudos to Danny Barrett for creating his second work independently. It's an expensive task and not without risk; especially with the use of talented musicians such as those who appear here. Indian Summer is distinctly Danny Barrett—straight, no chaser.

Listeners looking for highly stylized arrangements and delivery, scatting, and lots of vocal frills should steer clear of this record. Barrett can be compared to a fine well-aged bourbon, to be taken neat with perhaps a single ice cube. His style is similar to, but swings more than Vic Damone's—every word articulated, singing the song for the song, not the singer, with a minimum of fluff—and just enough emotion applied where appropriate. His distinctive baritone and well-adjusted timbre are a change from the male singers in abundance these days who sing in a higher register.

Now, jazz fans looking for something new or outré should look elsewhere. Those who appreciate standards, however, will find themselves wanting to light a fire, kick off shoes, and cuddle on the couch to this album. It's about heart—in fact, occasionally Barrett becomes too involved in his lyrics. He applies a touch more emotion than necessary, and some listeners may find that cloying or, for lack of a better word, too "cabaret. But forgive him. Barrett's a lyricist's best friend.

One peculiarity: described above are lovebirds nestling fireside. Barrett made a mistake by including the interesting, nostalgic, but certainly not romantic "Baseball Interlude (I Once Knew A Man). The spoken-word portions thereof are backgrounded nicely but distracting nonetheless.

Indian Summer is available from www.dannybarrett.com.

Track Listing: 1. Quietly There (Johnny Mandel/Morgan Ames) 2. Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You (Jack Segal/Marvin Fisher) 3. Isn't It A Pity (George/Ira Gershwin) 4. They Say That Falling In Love Is Wonderful (I. Berlin) 5. Baseball Interlude [I Once Knew A Man] (Danny Barrett) 6. I Cover the Waterfront (J. Styne/S. Cahn/J. Green/E. Heyman) 7. How Am I To Know (Jack King/Dorothy Parker) 8. Blue Gardenia (Lester Lee/Sidney Russell) 9. Medley: You're My Everything (H. Warren/ M. Dixon/J. Young) It Might As Well Be Spring (R. Rodgers/O. Hammerstein) Indian Summer (V. Young/A. Dubin)

Personnel: Danny Barrett, vocals; Bill O'Connell, Arrangements/Piano; Kenny Davis, Bass; Billy Drummond, drums; Guitar: Paul Meyers (Tracks 1,2,4,6); Flutes: Dave Valentin (Tracks 1,4,9); Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Joe Magnarelli (Tracks 2,3,7,9); Tenor Saxophone: Jerry Weldon (Tracks 2,7,9); Vibes: Brian Murphy (Tracks 6,8,9); Percussion: Daniel Sadownick (Tracks 1,2,4,7,9); Harmonica: Enrico Granafei (Track 6); Narration: James Randolph (Track 5).

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream

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