Danny Barrett: Indian Summer (2004)
Danny Barrett is a big-voiced crooner in the style of Dick Haymes, Vic Damone and Billy Eckstine, harkening back to an era when these vocalists could be guaranteed airplay in the pre-rock era. There are detailed endorsements from highly respected vocalists Jimmy Scott and David Allyn in the liner notes and comparisons made to Johnny Hartman, Freddy Cole and Billy Eckstine. This is a jazz album only per the muscianship of the combo led by pianist Bill O'Connell and featuring good solo work by Joe Magnarelli, Dave Valentin, Paul Meyers, Brian Murphy, Jerry Weldon and O'Connell. Danny Barrett has a pleasing baritone but does not have the jazz sensibilities of Hartman or Cole. I do hear shades of Billy Eckstine, especially in his ballad interpretations of songs like "Blue Gardenia."
This is a second album for Danny Barrett, whose debut, It's About Time, was released in 1995. The nine tunes are from the Great American Songbook, with the addition of an original "Baseball Interlude (I Once Knew A Man)," which is a tribute to Jackie Robinson with a lengthy spoken word narrative that belongs more in a PBS documentary than on this album. This portion is bookended by the old "Take Me Out to The Ball Game" anthem, which Barrett slows down to a ballad. Parenthetically, Mr. Barrett is a professional batting coach.
Barrett also performs a cut-and-paste job on "I Cover the Waterfront," beginning with the verse of "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry." The last line of the verse (..."I know how the lady in the harbor feels...") is the link to "I Cover The Waterfront" and in the closing measure, guitarist Paul Meyers slyly insinuates the chording for "Guess..." I wonder how many listeners are going to be aware of this subterfuge in the absence of any liner note assistance.
These songs are all presented in user-friendly fashion for a generation that longs for the rebirth of "good taste" in music and who find that the Rod Stewart Songbook does not provide the answer. Mr. Barrett's choice of material is fine. He gets to loosen up a bit on the extended "How Am I To Know," which is notable for the flurry of solos from all hands. The album ends with a medley of three songs in different tempos that suffers from a lack of continuity. "You're My Everything" is taken at a mid-tempo pace with good solos from Weldon and O'Connell. Then a brisk and percussive "It Might As Well Be Spring" morphs into a ballad, "Indian Summer."
Track Listing: Quietly There, Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You, Isn't It A Pity, They Say That Falling In Love is Wonderful, Baseball Interlude (I Once Knew A Man), I Cover the Waterfront, How Am I To Know, Blue Gardenia, Medley:You're My Everything/It Might As Well Be Spring/Indian Summer.
Personnel: Danny Barrett,vocals; Bill O'Connell,piano, arranger; Kenny Davis,bass; Billy Drummond,drums; Paul Meyers, guitar; Dave Valentin, flutes; Joe Magnarelli, trumpet/flugelhorn; Jerry Weldon,tenor sax; Brian Murphy, vibes; Daniel Sadowski, percussion; Enrico Granafei; James Randolph, narration.
Record Label: DBD