There is a lot to hear on Filipino Mon David's debut American recording. David (pronounced MOAN da-VID), a winner of the 2006 London International Jazz Vocal competition, is able to navigate octaves without skipping a beat, owns a smooth vocal quality sometimes reminiscent of Tony Bennett without the rasp, has a penchant for playing with vocal sounds à la Bobby McFerrin and the ability to scat and sing in his native Tagalog.
He also chooses and arranges his material (a mixture of theater songs, movie songs and jazz standards) with care and approaches each one with imagination: Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" is done in 6/8 time; David scats alone with the bass on "There Is No Greater Love" in a tempo that puts bassist Dominic Thiroux through his paces and Glenn Miller's theme song, "Moonlight Serenade," shows up with a Latin personality. He does a memorable turn on "Invitation," a song with extremely difficult musical intervals (probably why it is hardly ever sung) and a sensitive reading on Livingston-Evans' powerful piece "Never Let Me Go." He shares his wit on "No More Blues" (with the Jon Hendricks lyric to Jobim's melody) and a track entitled "Kailangan Yan" which turns out to be Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't," with David's Tagalog lyric.
David is joined by Filipino piano virtuoso Tateng Katindig (check out his work on "Moonlight Serenade"), the aforementioned Thiroux, Abe Lagrimas on drums and Carlo David on the caón, a Peruvian percussion instrument. He also plays guitar and percussion on some of the tracks. Guests on this CD are David's "jazzipino sister," vocalist Charmaine Clamor, who duets with him on "Only Once," and Justo Almario on tenor saxophone.
David is a singer that likes to take musical risks. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with on his next record outing.
Footprints; Invitation; Throw It Away; Only Once; Some Other Time; There Is No Greater Love; Moonlight; Moonlight Serenade; No More Blues; Kailangan Yan; Never Let Me Go.