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The members of Dead Ringer refer to their second recording as "music for the Mancini generation." These classic songs were played on the radio back then, and they've left strong memories. From the album's songlist, "Charade" and "It Had Better Be Tonight" are Henry Mancini creations with Johnny Mercer's lyrics. The ensemble has selected timeless songs that represent ... well, Dad.
Dead Ringer is a remarkable quartet. Pure and simple, with a high regard for the songs they interpret, their performances reflect a cool spirit. Formed in 1995, the quartet also refers to itself as The Ambassadors of Lounge. Cocktail jazz can mean different things; it depends on who you ask. Dead Ringer has fun performing, and their work pays off in crisp, cool interpretations. Kathleen Frasca and Ron Rennells were married long before they formed this band. Their partnership works quite well, since they know one another's strengths and use that information intuitively. Frasca's crystal clear delivery and smooth alto voice bring her interpretations readily to the listener's attention with a smile. You can hear the smile. Audio samples from their recordings are available at Dead Ringer's web site . Her husband weaves lucid guitar phrases around each song. Rennell's musical arrangements create a special intimacy that invites the lounge scene tag.
Latin rhythms and straight-ahead textures give the band's program variety. "Old Country" and "Close Your Eyes" stir the emotions. The addition of accordion to "It Had Better Be Tonight" adds an elegant touch of romance to the session. To close, "Besame Mucho" is sung in Spanish. Dead Ringer has re-packaged Dad's music. They've made it fresh and elegant. Now, Father's Day will come around more than once a year.
Track Listing: Lot of Livin' To Do; Music to Watch Girls By; Sway; Willow Weep for Me; The Thrill Is Gone; I Wish I Were In Love Again; Agua de Beber; Close Your Eyes; I Believe In You; Old Country; Charade; Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps; It Had Better Be Tonight; Besame Mucho.
Personnel: Kathleen Frasca- vocals; Ron Rennells- guitar; Joe Plutschow- bass; Steve Matyas- drums; Phil Etting- accordion on "It Had Better Be Tonight;" Loretta Radosevich- percussion on "Agua de Beber," "Besame Mucho," "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," and "Sway;" Noriko Soga- violin on "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" and "Sway;" Phil Topping- trumpet on "Close Your Eyes" and "Music to Watch Girls By;" Budi Winarto- tenor saxophone on "Music to Watch Girls By."
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.