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Bill Cote: Where Do You Start (2014)

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Bill Cote: Where Do You Start How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Sometimes preconceived notions about recordings can be smashed to smithereens in the most wonderful way. What, yet another GAS-and-jazz-standards recording—this one a debut from a middle-age male vocalist whose main gig is law? Well, quoting TV Land's "Gomer Pyle," "Surprise, surprise!" And, a most enjoyable musical discovery in the Cracker Jack® box it is.

Right from the Start featuring vocalist Bill Cote and backed by the Tamir Hendelman Trio, delivers a whopping 16 excellently presented selections drawn from the Great American Songbook, Broadway and Pop ("Where or When," "On a Clear Day," "Sunday in New York"). Coté's performance here certainly begs the question about his musical whereabouts to date.

Coté, a wide-bodied baritone (in the vocal sense) possesses a resonance the uncanny equivalent some of the great baritones of jazz—Johnny Hartman
Johnny Hartman
Johnny Hartman
1923 - 1983
vocalist
, Arthur Prysock
Arthur Prysock
Arthur Prysock
1929 - 1997
vocalist
and Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
Billy Eckstine
1914 - 1993
vocalist
, and a sense of swing—sans scat—of Giacomo Gates
Giacomo Gates
Giacomo Gates

vocalist
and Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
b.1967
vocalist
("I Just Found Out About Love"). As muscular as his voice is, Coté does not allow strength to overshadow lyric or emotional content ("When Do the Bells Ring for Me?" "Never Let Me Go"). He knows his tunes inside-out, offers fine dynamic range and acknowledges the emotional import and power of a well-sung lyric line (Never Let Me Go"). His intonation is spot on throughout his range, and although his is a more robust voice in lower registers than higher, it is very much a come hither vocal instrument.

Pianist Tamir Hendelman, who did the arranging, supports his front man with exquisite taste. His overall interplay with Coté is terrific throughout, allowing harmonic under parts to weave well with Coté's melodic lines. Bassist Martin Wind
Martin Wind
Martin Wind
b.1968
bass, acoustic
drives all along and drummer, Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
Joe LaBarbera
b.1948
drums
(who knows from great singers and pianists, having backed Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
b.1926
vocalist
and Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
for years) deploys his set superbly to tastefully swing and sizzle. Guests Bob Sheppard ("When Sunny Gets Blue," "I Just Found Out About Love") and Graham Dechter ("My Funny Valentine," "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most") also shine.

While the Scales of Justice are equivalently balanced, tips very heavily positive as a superb opening vocal statement by a fine artist and his team. Strike the sound block. Case closed.

Track Listing: Where or When; When Do the Bells Ring for Me?; Teach Me Tonight; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?; LA State of Mind; Who Can I Turn To?; Satin Doll; Where Do You Start; Sunday in New York; My Funny Valentine; When Sunny Gets Blue; Never Let Me Go; On a Clear Day;Spring Can really Hang You Up the Most; I Just Found Out About Love; Indian Summer.

Personnel: Bill Cote: vocals; Tamir Hendelman: piano; Martin wind: bass; Joe La Barbera: drums; Bob Sheppard: sax, flute; Graham Dechter: guitar.

Record Label: Self Produced


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