How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Maurice Hines is the well-known dancer and choreographer having worked in such Great White Way musicals as Eubie. This album is his debut as a singer, using only his first name. Maurice has a light voice, somewhere in between Nat King Cole and Jimmy Scott with a nod toward Leon Thomas thrown in from time to time. Taking no chances, he has selected a play list of well-known tunes with which he does good things.
Maurice has several qualities that work in his favor. He sings in key, has excellent diction and uses wisely the talents of the outstanding musicians with him on the session. Listen to him work with the muted trumpet of Joe Wilder on "Sweet Lorriane" to establish swinging credentials. He also uses this venerable classic to have some fun with the lyrics. Maurice tailors his emotions to the song he's singing. This ability comes through on interpretations of such classics as "It Had to Be You" and "Imagination". The latter features fine flute from the inestimable Frank Wess. There's a surprise on "My Romance" which kicks off with an avant-garde piano chorus by Frank Owens, before a swinging Maurice comes in on a bouncy, swinging version of this tune from Billy Rose's Broadway hit Jumbo Similarly such other classics as "Taking a Chance on Love" are given a new wrinkle by the singer as he takes this at a far slower tempo than one usually hears.
It's nice to welcome a good new voice to the male side of jazz and traditional pop which been become depleted over the last few years. Recommended.
Track Listing: I've Never Been in Love Before*; Taking a Chance on Love; Exactly Like You; This Heart of Mine; Sweet Lorraine; My Romance; But Beautiful; Imagination; It Had to Be You*; Body and Soul; You've Changed; How Insensitive*; Medley: A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes; Never Never Land
Personnel: Maurice - Vocals; Frank Owens - Conductor/Piano/Arrangements; Frank Wess - Tenor Saxophone/Flute; Joe Wilder - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Bob Cranshaw - Bass; Jimmy Mitchell, Ken Hatfield* - Guitar; Jimmy Young, Sherrie Maricle* - Drums; Joe Shepley* - Flugelhorn