Taylor Hicks: The Jazz Side of Taylor Hicks (2007)
Although soul jazz-oriented material seems a natural choice, he also covers a lot of other ground. The surprising opener is "Caravan," from the Duke Ellington songbook, where he benefits from the brisk arrangement and fine hand drumming of Moroccan percussionist Ali Bahdum. The vocalist is obviously having fun as he tackles Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere" (even if his attempts at a child-like voice are a bit awkward), backed by Jiri-Lee Paupenpilz's driving bass.
He offers dramatic interpretations of "Sunrise, Sunset" (From Fiddler on the Roof) and the timeless standard "Body and Soul," with excellent backing from Bosnian pianist Emil Kazhinaczech. His take of "Georgia On My Mind" is every bit as soulful as Ray Charles' famous version, but with a jazzier touch. Hicks' humorous two-minute wrap-up of Steve Allen's theme song, "This Could Be the Start of Something Big," is a scream as he makes it known in his liner notes that this jazz session is likely a one-shot opportunity.
Track Listing: Caravan; Dat Dere; On Green Dolphin Street; Sunrise, Sunset; What is This Thing Called Love; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; You and the Night and the Music; Georgia on My Mind; Broadway; This Could Be the Start of Something Big.
Personnel: Taylor Hicks: vocals; Emil Kazhinaczech: piano; Jiri-Lee Paupenpilz: bass; Ali Bahdum: drums; Simon Cowell: liner notes.
Record Label: Idlewilde