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Anthony Jefferson: All I Am

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Male vocal artists such as Al Jarreau, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Lou Rawls, Brook Benton, et al maintained the vibrancy of the classic crooners of the Golden Age—Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Johnny Mathis, et al. With All I Am Anthony Jefferson does a superb job of artistically paying tribute to many of these iconic names—and to other more contemporary male singers.

Jefferson and his team deliver eleven exceptionally well-performed selections—most of which are GAS workhorses or songs associated with some of the artists above. Al Jarreau's and George Benson's "All I Am" opens the date with Jefferson backed by lush strings. Right from the start, we hear that Jefferson has terrific pipes, a fine way with a line, and ace dynamic control. Of special interest is Jefferson's rendition of the theme from the motion picture "Marnie." It is a terrific, Cole-like performance and a wonderful production choice. There's no overdoing it or faux drama on "Besame Mucho" where Patricia Pereya and Jefferson romantically vocally intertwine.

Jefferson's voice is smooth and inviting—does he drink "Silk?" One can easily hear that he has done his homework on all of the performers associated with these hit songs. However, he lends plenty of his own flair to the musical proceedings.

Corey Allen's fine understated arrangements with the gorgeous strings, easy percussion, and laid-back vibe are a gorgeous time-machine. Are we with Nat King Cole at Capitol Records on Jefferson's take on "Impossible?" or with Johnny Mathis at Columbia's studios on "Besame Mucho?" Pianist Allen also offers a tasty keyboard solo framing Jefferson on "Night and Day." "Willow Weep for Me" (with a horn lick right out of "Blood, Sweat and Tears") gets belted hard with a soulful sax solo by Sandy Gabriel. "Summertime" is sultry and sweaty. Jefferson demonstrates versatility, covering "Rainy Night in Georgia" and Billy Paul's soul classic, "Me and Mrs. Jones." Trumpeter Mark Rapp delivers a tasty counterpoint and fine solo on "In the Presence Of." It is another great production choice. James Taylor's "You Got a Friend" covered with a Gospel hint brings the curtain down.

All I Am breaks no new ground. It doesn't have to. It is a very enjoyable near-hour of romantic and soulful melodies performed by a highly-versatile and talented singer along with fine musicians supporting. All I Am assuredly takes us back to a simpler, more elegant musical time. It's a wonderful place to go.

Track Listing

All I Am, Marnie, Besame Mucho, Night and Day, Willow Weep for Me, Summertime, Impossible, Rainy Night in Georgia, Me and Mrs. Jones, In the Presence Of, You've Got a Friend.

Personnel

Anthony Jefferson: voice / vocals; Corey Allen: piano; Federico Mendez: guitar; Pengbian Sang: bass; Esar Simó: bass; Guy Frometa: drums; Sly De Moya: percussion; Tom McCauley: guitar.

Mark Rapp: trumpet; Patricia Pereyra: vocals; Gustavo A. Hostos: vocals; The Cory Allen Strings: Milena Zivkovic, Igor Vasiljevic, Zvezdana Radojkovic; The Corey Allen Horns: Ernesto Nunez: trumpet, Pedro Liberato: trumpet, Sandy Gabriel: alto sax; Jesus Abru: tenor sax; Gabriel Parra: baritone sax; Carlos Torres: trombone; Background vocals: Sabrina Estepan, Benny Hiraldo, emmanuel Pena, Fende Sincere.

Album information

Title: All I Am | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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