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 was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.