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Ron Kaplan: Lounging Around (2006)

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

Recorded in 1999, this program features the velvety smooth baritone voice of Ron Kaplan singing timeless standards that have weathered changes in music and technology, and that we've all come to love. For Lounging Around he works with a small ensemble to emulate the unique Rat Pack ambience that has affected millions. How can we ever forget? Standards like "Just One of Those Things, "Caravan and "Blues in the Night recall the happy times when the lounges of Las Vegas and Reno were filled wall to wall with similar interpretations.

While Kaplan's rich voice fills the studio's sound room with full force and the session's balance remains well proportioned, the performance rests too comfortably on its walking stick. As if made just for the wee small hours of the morning, the program emphasizes its relaxed mood and undercurrents of shadow. While guitarist Larry Scala unveils several instances of vibrant blues emotion, the session keeps most of it under wraps.

As if to break the mold, trumpeter Dmitri Matheny and Scala work creative solos on "How Insensitive that wake up the room. A similar situation erupts on "Caravan, as Scala and saxophonist Donny McCaslin season the timeless standard with exotic spices.

Kaplan is based in Santa Cruz, California, where he's able to work with a wide array of jazz professionals from the San Francisco Bay Area. The area brings musicians together like family, and the music grows from their unity. The proof on Lounging Around hangs tight on the bootstraps of professionals like Larry Scala, Donny McCaslin and organist Steve Czarnecki. "Moanin', a soulful Bobby Timmons classic that's spanned generations, brings them together for one of the session's high points.

Kaplan brings a rich voice to the session; however, the mood remains, for the most part, aligned indelibly with a laid-back lounge setting.

Track Listing: Blues in the Night; Cry Me a River; I Surrender Dear; How Insensitive; Just One of Those Things; Caravan; No One Ever Tells You; Moanin; What a Wonderful World.

Personnel: Ron Kaplan: vocals; Larry Scala: guitar; Giuseppe Merolla: drums; Perry Thoorsell: bass; Donny McCaslin, Jr.: tenor saxophone; Steve Czarnecki: organ; Dmitri Matheny: flugelhorn.

Record Label: Kapland Records

Style: Vocal


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