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Have you ever walked into the next room and, upon hearing a Frank Sinatra recording, began singing along, "Fly me to the moon, dah dum da dum da dum, in other words" and couldn't quite remember the rest of the lyrics? Joe Lovano and Manny Albam had that in mind when they sat down to sketch out this session. Combining Lovano's creative tenor sax force with Judi Silvano's soprano voice, a rhythm section, saxophone section, string section and a few more, the popular sax man features a duo, trio, quartet, and large ensemble to honor the legendary crooner.
Over half the songs are with the small orchestra and Silvano's wordless vocals. On three of the tunes, she sings a phrase or two with lyrics in the same natural manner that you or I would sing along with Sinatra. Five of the tracks feature only Lovano with rhythm section in a charging hard bop vein; "Chicago" is particularly interesting because it's just the duo of Lovano and drummer Al Foster going very "outside."
"The Song Is You" features lengthy and spirited solo work from bassist George Mraz, pianist Kenny Werner, and drummer Foster. "I've Got You Under My Skin," arranged as a jazz waltz, features Billy Drewes on soprano saxophone as a complement and counterpart for Lovano's tenor. Recalling that Joe Lovano was with Woody Herman from 1976 to 1979, Albam orchestrated "I've Got The World On A String" to fit three more tenors into the mix, reminiscent of the "four brothers."
With Lovano's tenor spinning the melody to "One For My Baby" and the orchestra lending able support, he varies the phrasing to allow a transfer of the melodic line from one instrumental voice to another, and proceeds to stir things up. Silvano's wordless vocals take on the character of lead trumpet and combine with hard bop saxophone thrills from Billy Drewes and leader Lovano. Like the legendary Sinatra, Joe Lovano does it his way. Recommended.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.