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CD/LP/Track Review

John Proulx: The Best Thing for You (2012)

By Published: November 13, 2012
John Proulx: The Best Thing for You While female jazz vocalists outnumber male jazz vocalists five to one, it would be a fallacy to believe there is not a wealth of talent among the men singers. With Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
and Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
now memories, and Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy
b.1932
vocalist
and Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
Jon Hendricks
b.1921
vocalist
in twilight, as Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
b.1967
vocalist
ascends their throne, there exists a vocal diaspora of the most refined and sonically appealing voices singing, and they are all men. Andy Bey
Andy Bey
Andy Bey
b.1939
piano
, Beat Kaestli
Beat Kaestli
Beat Kaestli

vocalist
, Henry Darragh
Henry Darragh
Henry Darragh

vocalist
and John Proulx all have beautifully sweet and slightly androgynous voices that are able to flatter a broad range of song types. Proulx, who has previously released the uniformly excellent Moon and Sand (2006) and Baker's Dozen: Remembering Chet Baker on MAXJAZZ, proves again, on The Best Thing For You, that he is the leader of this pack.

The Best Thing For You weighs heavier with Proulx originals than standards and the entire assembly hangs as if born together. Proulx has great empathy with Irving Berlin, spinning his title tune into a tale that can only be described as delightful. Proulx channels Berlin's stage spirit in his own tunes, like the "Push Hands Anna," which is almost a throwback to the wartime Andrews Sisters, but sings perfectly now. Proulx programs the McHugh/Fields chestnut "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" with his own "Love Is For Dreamers," which he duets with Sara Gazarek
Sara Gazarek
Sara Gazarek

vocalist
. His excellent vocals and piano smooth the two rather different songs together into a homogenous whole, making perfect sense.

Proulx's core trio includes bassist Chuck Berghofer
Chuck Berghofer
Chuck Berghofer
b.1937
bass
and drummer Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
b.1948
drums
, who also supported the singer on his two previous outings. Guitarist Larry Koonse, trumpeter Ron Stout and reed multi-instrumentalist Bob Sheppard all appear in different contexts. Pianist Bill Cunliffe
Bill Cunliffe
Bill Cunliffe
b.1956
piano
shares production and song arrangement services with Proulx, while playing piano on Marian McPartland
Marian McPartland
Marian McPartland
1918 - 2013
piano
's "In The Days of Our Love." Proulx sings Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
1920 - 2002
vocalist
's lyrics like they were penned yesterday. The duet between Cunliffe and Proulx is very effective. He also duets with the Berghofer on "Here's to The Chuckster," a song Proulx penned in honor of the bassist.

Proulx is not a blues singer per se, but does demonstrate his affinity for the style on the piano, rendering a swinging "Proulx's Blues," which closes this most excellent recital.


Track Listing: The Best Thing For You; Sing; Jogger Chronicles; Love Is For Dreamers; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Angel; Wabash; Before We Say Goodnight; Push Hands Anna; And So It Goes; Two Of A Kind; In The Days Of Our Love; Here's To The Chuckster; Proulx's Blues.

Personnel: John Proulx: vocals. piano; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Joe La Barbera: drums; Sara Gazarek: vocals (4, 6, 8); Michael Feinstein: vocals (11); Bill Cunliffe: piano (12); Bob Shepphard: soprano, tenor saxophone & flute (1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11); Larry Koonse: guitar (2, 4, 7-9); Ron Stout: trumpet (1, 3, 7, 11); Jeremy Boersma: cello (6).

Record Label: MAXJAZZ



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