Marcus Goldhaber: Almost Love (2012)
On his third album, vocalist and songwriter Marcus Goldhaber presents an eclectic mix of original songs that run the gamut of his musical influences, ranging from pop-inflected ballads to more swinging jazz tunes.
The disc opens with "Love Me Tonight," a romantic ballad that sets the tone for almost half of the album, mostly comprised of mid-tempo ballads. The acoustic guitar-centered arrangements are reminiscent of James Taylor, but with less focus on Taylor's folk style and with a clear nod to the musical theater in which Goldhaber majored.
Among the highlights is "Somebody In Love," a swinging New Orleans-inspired song that features saxophonist Joel Frahm taking the band to the swinging clubs of the '50s. His solo is followed by a very electric individual moment from guitarist John Hart, who also contributes acoustic and 12-string guitar to the set. "Last Night I Found A Melody" is a highly enjoyable jazz ballad, with Goldhaber backed by a classic piano trio led by pianist Jon Davis. Also notable is "As Long As I'm With You," whose structure seems to borrow slightly from Rodgers and Hart's "Johnny One Note," but ultimately moves into more contemporary jazz territory, while a duet with vocalist Lauren Kinhan on "If I Knew Better" is a welcome contribution to the bossa nova songbook.
As a vocalist, Goldhaber is very expressive, particularly noticeable during slower moments like the title song and "Almost Love," where he overcomes his personal vocal limitations, stretching his voice in a very theatrical manner without leaving the jazz format. The arrangements are also carefully made and fit each tune as a glove.
Track Listing: Love Me Tonight; I Love You More; Hideu Away; Almost Love; Somebody In Love; I Wanna Know; Last Night I Found a Melody; As Long As I'm With You; If I Knew Better; It Won't Be Long; What If; Let's Be Foolish Together; As Long As I'm Falling in Love.
Personnel: Marcus Goldhaber: voice; Jon Davis: piano, B-3 Hammond organ; Marcello Pellitieri: drums, percussion; John Hart: guitars; Joel Frahm: tenor and soprano saxophones; Erik Friedlander: cello; Lauren Kinhan: voice; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet.