Is vocalist/pianist/composer Bob Dorough the Mose Allison of Cherry Hill, Arkansas or is Mose Allison the Bob Dorough of Tippo, Mississippi? The two are famously linked by geographic origin: the country South, time period: '50s to the present, and vocation: singing, songwriting jazzmen. The two also share timeless voices, full of Southern dry dust and humus. Jason Isbell wrote in "Outfit":
..."don't worry about losing your accent, a southern man tells better jokes."
And Dorough and Allison have taken that to heart for 60 years each. Dorough, the elder of the two, had a certain influence on Allison, who, at 85, has retired from performance. Dorough, now 89, shows little inclination to slow down, releasing Duets in support for the Celebration of the Arts (Delaware Water Gap Jazz Festival non- profit). Time has little diminished Dorough's faculties as he well demonstrates on these eleven original compositions. Bob Dorough is way more than his famous "Schoolhouse Rock."
Duets places Dorough in predictable and comfortable company. He sings his signature song, "Devil May Care" with the New York Voices, supplemented with Phil Woods' alto saxophone solo. The ensemble singing recalls the swing era as informed by be bop, swinging with a nosebleed momentum. Woods provided another solo on the breezy "Love Came On Stealthy Fingers" on which Heather Masse joins Dorough after coming into her on on her recent Lock My Heart (Red House, 2013). Dorough pushes the vocal envelope with Hammond B3 specialist Craig Lastelnik on "I'm Coming Home." He is in fine voice.
Dorough shares some clever vocalese with Manhattan Transfer's Janis Siegel on "Up Jumped A Bird" accented with Dave Liebman's looping soprano saxophone. Scat singing warfare breaks out demonstrating how the modern masters work. "Small Day Tomorrow" is the disc showstopper, featuring Vic Juris' dirty electric guitar while Dorough and Donna Antonow deliver the best duet on the disc. Dorough's Duets rings completely true in spirit, delivering a superb collection of his songs well played and sung. Bob Dorough is a treasure...our treasure.
Devil May Care; I’m Hip; I’ve Got Just About Everything I Need; Love
Came On Stealthy Fingers; The Song Of the Mourning Dove; Comin’ Home
Baby; Up Jumped A Bird; Small Day Tomorrow; I’m Waiting For Someone;
Sunshine Morning; There’s Never Been A Day.
Bob Dorough: vocals; Phil Markowitz: piano (1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9); Eric
Doney: piano (2, 10); Jesse Green: piano (6, 11); Bobby Avey: piano
(7); Tony Marino: bass (1, 4); Paul Rostock: bass (2, 3, 7); Evan
Gregor: bass (5, 8, 9, 10, 11); Bill Goodwin: drums (1, 3); Marko
Marcinko: drums (2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10); Bill Washer: guitar (5, 6, 11);
Spencer Reed: guitar (6); Vic Juris: guitar: (8, 10); Phil Woods: alto
saxophone (1, 4); Aralee Dorough: flute (5); Rick Chamberlain:
trombone (5, 8, 10); Danny Cahn: trumpet (8, 10); Tom Hamilton: tenor
saxophone (8, 10); Nelson Hill: alto saxophone, flute (10); Jay
Rattman: baritone saxophone (10); Dave Leibman: soprano saxophone (7).
Ed Hudak: percussion (11). New York Voices: Darmon Meader, Peter
Eldrige; Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan: vocals (1); Nellie McKay: vocals
(2); JD Walker: vocals (3); Heather Masse,: vocals (4, 6); Val Hawk:
vocals (5); Craig Lastelnik: Hammond B3, vocals (6); Janis Siegel:
vocals (7); Donna Antonow: vocals (8); Grace Kelly: vocals (9); Vicki
Doney: vocals (6, 10); Nancy Reed: vocals (11); June Thomas:vocals