Future Street is an outstanding new vocal package from West Coast jazz singer/songwriter Marilyn Harris. First, a brief word about the music. The most adventurous jazz singers will take a jazz standard from the past (e.g. a Wayne Shorter Blue Note classic, a Coleman Hawkins composition from the 1940s, etc.) and set original lyrics to the tune and perhaps instrumental solo. Here, with the exception of Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars," Marilyn Harris is working without a net on her own compositions, which happen to sound like they belong to the category of very familiar, and sturdy jazz riffs that sound like they've been in place for some time. Her advantage is that the listener has no preconceived notion as to what the lyrical content ought to be.
The album begins with "Dorothy Parker, based upon a poem written by the title character, told in swinging fashion, and it ends with a ballad highlight "Love Means Never Having to Say Goodbye." The intervening ten tracks offer a lot of laughs, insight and toe tapping. The title tune is treated to a little big band ambiance, with the horn riffs providing a lift. "Sunglasses In The Rain" is a duet with Mark Winkler that has a bouncy AOR-type delivery that is thematically like Donald Fagen's "Walk Between the Raindrops." Harry Connick Jr. could make this a Top 40 hit. A lilting bossa "My Dissipation" is given a tongue-in-cheek set of lyrics that belie the typical Rio lifestyle. "Express" is delivered on a very fast track, with help from vocalist and arranger Mark Wolfram and done a la Lambert Hendricks & Ross.
A large measure of the success of this project is the musicianship of the players gathered for this session. There are soloists featured on every track and solid ensemble work. Andy Martin's trombone, Bill Liston's baritone sax, the flugelhorn of Luening/Bargeron and Dan Higgins sax and flute are just some of the standouts. In his hip liner notes, Bob Dorough says it all without giving the listener any technical information on the tunes, and it is just perfect.
Track Listing: Dorothy Parker, Ain't Got Nothin' On You, Future Street, Sunglasses in the Rain, My Dissipation, In A Lonely Place, Express, Insomniac, Lost in the Stars, Don't Wanna Know, The Good Guys, Love Means Never Having to Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Aggregate Personnel:
Marilyn Harris,vocals and piano; Dave Carpenter,bass; Bob Leatherbarrow, drums, vibraphone; Dan Higgins, Pete Christlieb, Bill Liston, reeds; Warren Luening, Wayne Bargeron,flugelhorn; Andy Martin,trombone; Mark Winkler,vocals(Sunglasses in the Rain); Mark Wolfram,vocals(Express).
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.