All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

Van Morrison: Born to Sing - No Plan B

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
When Ray Charles died in 2004, he left only one artist (two if you count Willie Nelson) with a comparable musical vision and depth and breadth of creative reach: Van Morrison. For 40 years, Morrison has surveyed the spectrum of American music, just as Charles had. Morrison passed blues, soul, R&B, rock, country, jazz and folk of the New World through an emerald prism that imparted each with his personal Irish quintessence. On Born to Sing—No Plan B, Morrison's 39th album and his first studio recording in four years, the singer remains in good voice and steady in direction.

Morrison recordings are often more tone poems held together with simple and solidly soulful harmonics. Astral Weeks (Warner Brothers, 1968) and Veedon Fleece (Warner Brothers, 1974) are recordings like this, where Morrison spins Celtic gossamer in a James Joyce kind of way. It is often as if he does not enter the studio with lyrics written, but merely opens his mouth and out comes something like "Cyprus Avenue," "Moonshine Whiskey" or "Rough God Goes Riding." This is the personality Morrison gives his lengthy "Going Down to Monte Carlo" on Born to Sing, continuing to reveal his angst toward the recording industry and lesser mortals than himself.

What Morrison always delivers are hook-filled songs based on deceptively simple melody lines. "Open The Door (To Your Heart)" is an infectious Island mélange featuring the singer's tangy alto saxophone, while the title song loping doo wop without the doo wop. "Close Enough for Jazz" has a breezy line that penetrates one's sleep. Is it jazz? One reviewer commenting on Morrison's 1996 How Long Has This Been Going On? (Verve) said that the singer confused jazziness for jazz. Perhaps he did, but an overriding question would be, why should Van Morrison think he can plumb the depths of already well-represented music and add anything? For the same reason Ray Charles could...he was Ray Charles, after all, and Van Morrison is Van Morrison: that's why.


Track Listing: Open the Door (To Your Heart); Going Down to Monte Carlo; Born to Sing; End of the Rainbow; Close Enough for Jazz; Mystic of the East; Retreat and View; If in Money We Trust; Pagan Heart; Educating Archie.

Personnel: Van Morrison: alto saxophone, electric guitar, piano, vocals; Paul Moran: Hammond organ, trumpet, piano, keyboards; Alistair White: trombone; Chris White: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Dave Keary: guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar; Paul Moore: bass; Jeff Lardner: drums, percussion.

Title: Born to Sing - No Plan B | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Home Counties" CD/LP/Track Review Home Counties
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Glass
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Ara" CD/LP/Track Review Ara
by Don Phipps
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Green Man" CD/LP/Track Review Green Man
by Jim Olin
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Power Of Love" CD/LP/Track Review Power Of Love
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 13, 2018